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.
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
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