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World Bank raised Pandemic Fund awarding the first grants to help countries better prepare for future pandemics

The Pandemic Fund Board of Trustees has approved grants in the first round of funding to increase resilience to future pandemics in 37 countries across six regions. Selected projects will receive funding to strengthen disease surveillance and early warning, laboratory systems and the health workforce.

Established in September 2022 and formally launched under Indonesia’s G20 presidency at the G20 meetings in Bali, Indonesia last November, the Pandemic Fund is the first multilateral financial mechanism designed to provide multi-year grants to help low and middle income countries better prepare for future pandemics. Hosted by the World Bank, the fund has already raised $2 billion in seed capital from 25 sovereign and philanthropic contributors.

In May of this year, the Pandemic Fund closed its first call for proposals and received 179 applications from 133 countries. The Pandemic Fund Board of Directors met on 19 July 2023 to make an allocation decision under the first call based on the technical recommendations of the independent Technical Advisory Panel (TAP). Based on the proposals recommended by TAP, the Board selected 19 focusing on three priority areas of the first call for proposals, which will benefit 37 countries representing all geographic regions of the World Bank, with at least 2 projects allocated to each region.

Projects include various implementing entities:

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•Approximately 30% of the allocated grants are intended for projects in sub-Saharan Africa – the region with the highest demand for grants from the Pandemic Fund.

•More than 75% of the projects supported by the first call are in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Projects include various implementing entities.

•These projects support the Pandemic Fund’s goals of bringing additional, dedicated resources to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, motivating countries to increase investment, improving coordination among partners, and serving as a platform for advocacy.

Pandemic Fund Co-Chair Dr. Chatib Basri, former Minister of Finance of Indonesia and Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, Minister of Health, Rwanda says “We are very pleased that the Pandemic Fund has been able to move forward so quickly and allocate funding to projects that represent a good balance across geographic regions, country income groups and participating implementing entities”.

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World Bank raised Pandemic Fund awarding the first grants to help countries better prepare for future pandemics

The Pandemic Fund Board has worked diligently to ensure that the selection process is inclusive and transparent and emphasizes equity. All proposals have been independently assessed and evaluated by the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) and we are confident that the portfolio of projects selected by the Council for funding will increase Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR) capacity and respond to the inequalities that COVID-19 has further exposed to the world. As Co-Chairs of the Board, we will continue to do everything we can to ensure that the Pandemic Fund provides support to countries that need it most and that funds are used wisely to have the greatest impact.

Consistent with the Pandemic Fund’s mission to accelerate funding and foster coordination, the $338 million in grants awarded will mobilize more than $2 billion in additional resources, adding $6 for every $1 coming from the fund. Many of the projects involve cooperation between countries, UN agencies and multilateral development banks.

In response to this call for proposals, countries mobilized civil society and supplier partner networks. Many of the projects involve cross-border and regional cooperation, the One Health approach – a collaborative approach that combines human, animal and ecosystem health and gender and equity considerations.

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“The demand from countries for grant funding to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response is clear – the first call for proposals was exceeded eightfold. I am very pleased that in the first round the Pandemic Fund will be able to catalyze significant additional resources, support coordination and support projects for more countries supporting regional cooperation,” said Priya Basu, Executive Director of the Pandemic Fund Secretariat. in how we will do business in the future. We are excited to see the results and impact of our funding.”

The Pandemic Fund Board aims to launch a second call for proposals by the end of 2023, building on the experience gained from the first call for proposals.

Grants from the Pandemic Fund are a catalyst for co-financing projects from public and private sources and technical expertise from the World Health Organization and other partners. Sovereign contributors and co-investors, as well as representatives of foundations/non-state contributors and civil society organizations are equally represented in the Pandemic Fund’s board of directors.

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