Global pledging marathon raises €7.4 billion within three hours.

JS – 05/2020

The online pledging event on 04 May 2020 was jointly hosted by the European Union, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom. The aim of the alliance of countries and organisations is to raise funds for the joint development of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against COVID-19.

The initiative is a response to the call to action from the World Health Organization (WHO) and a group of health stakeholders for global cooperation.

USA and Russia did not participate

The extensive list of participants included all G7 countries (with the exception of US President Trump), other leaders such as Turkish President Erdoğan; Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa and Chairman of the African Union; and others such as King Abdullah of Jordan.

In their live broadcasts and video messages, the pledging partners all emphasised that a vaccine must be available to everyone. No one should be left out. However, the USA and Russia did not participate, which further fuels concerns that some countries may try to get a head start on vaccines and treatments for themselves.

Private donors included the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which pledged US$50 million, and Madonna, who donated US$1 million.

The €7.4 billion raised means that the original target of €7.5 billion was almost reached. However, this figure does not just include ‘new’ funding; all monies committed since 30 January 2020 are to be counted towards the total amount pledged.

Pledging marathon continues

It was repeatedly stressed that this event is just the beginning. Additional funding for medical technologies is necessary, especially after the production and distribution of a vaccine has begun.

The Commission will shortly announce how the funds collected will be allocated, that is the respective amounts distributed to vaccines, treatments, diagnostics and strengthening health systems in the context of COVID-19.

In her closing remarks, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated with confidence: ‘And today we can truly say: The world is united against the coronavirus. And the world will win.’

It remains to be seen how many pledges will be honoured and how the money will be used in a targeted manner.