Over 6 billion euros raised in global fundraising event to fight Covid-19

epa08400214 A woman walks in front the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 04 May 2020. The European Commission will host the Coronavirus Global Response international conference on 04 May, in which governments and business leaders will announce their pledges for the development and universal deployment of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines against the coronavirus Covid-19 disease. EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

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A global fundraising meeting on Saturday raised 6.15 billion euros from the United States, the European Commission and numerous countries to fight COVID-19, with many participants stressing that an eventual vaccine should be available to anyone who needs it.

The pledging summit, part of a joint initiative by the EU executive and advocacy group Global Citizen, also included a globally televised and streamed fundraising concert featuring Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Shakira, Chloe X Halle, Usher and others.

The Commission together with the European Investment Bank pledged 4.9 billion euros ($5.50 billion), the United States $545 million, Germany 383 million euros, Canada C$300 million ($219 million)and Qatar $10 million. Forty governments took part in the summit.

The money will be used for COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, and also to support the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said “The world will only be freed from this pandemic when vaccines, tests and treatments are available and affordable to everyone who needs them. Today’s pledges and Europe’s contribution bring us closer to this global goal. Europe is in this for the long haul. We will use all of our convening power for the common good. There is a strong alliance out there to beat this virus, together.”

40 governments took part in the summit and committed to ensuring universal access to coronavirus medicines. They also vowed to help rebuild communities that have been hit hard by the pandemic, in a fair and just way. As a landmark of global solidarity, the summit resulted in commitments for the production capacity of over 250 million vaccine doses for middle and lower income countries.

The European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer said: “I am happy to announce that, as part of Team Europe, the close partnership between the EIB and the European Commission leads to a pledge of €4.9 billion to help vulnerable countries finance their recovery from the pandemic. The EIB remains fully engaged in efforts alongside Team Europe, to minimize the devastating impact of this pandemic, notably by providing financing for health systems and research and economic resilience across the globe.”

Global Citizen CEO and co-founder Hugh Evans said: Global Goal: Unite for Our Future was launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are proud to join the European Commission, and over 40 governments from around the world, to ensure COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines would be made available for everyone, everywhere. The $6.9 billion that was pledged today to support the world’s poorest and most marginalized communities is an incredible next step on our journey out of the COVID-19 era, but there is more still to be done as no one is safe until everyone is safe.”

British Premier Boris Johnson concurred. “If and when an effective vaccine is found, then we as world leaders have moral duty to ensure that it is truly available to all,” he said. French President Emmanuel Macron was adamant about pooling efforts together.

“Let’s refuse an every man for himself approach, let’s continue to move forward together,” he said.

Italy, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, echoed his sentiment. The EU is championing global cooperation in efforts to control and end the pandemic, in contrast to the United States and China’s focus on national initiatives.

The €4.9 billion comes on top of the €2 billion already pledged by the EIB on 4 May. It will finance economic recovery, stronger health systems and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries outside of the EU, as part of the EU global response to fight the pandemic (‘Team Europe’).

The European Investment Bank is building a pipeline of investment projects to develop and scale up production of coronavirus vaccines, tests and treatments, in partnership with Commission, the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). All this effort is complemented by what the EIB is doing in health and pandemic preparedness both inside and outside EU. The EIB has built a pipeline of projects of around €6 billion of financing with partners in the health and life science sectors

In the last weeks, the EIB announced a new Memorandum of Understanding with the WHO, an Advisory agreement with CEPI, a collaboration with the Israel Innovation Authority and a €50 million financing agreement with Pluristem to develop therapies for coronavirus vaccine development finance for BioNTech and increased cooperation with UN-Habitat.

Reuters / European Commission 

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