Statement by President Biden on Pandemic Preparedness, Prevention and Response Fund at the World Bank
Today, the World Bank Board voted to approve the establishment of a new Financial Intermediary Fund that will make the world safer and more secure from pandemics. Since Day One of my Administration, I have called for a mechanism to catalyze global progress to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats. The United States is doing its part to collectively and collaboratively build global consensus towards establishing this new fund through calls to action and partnership from leaders across our government. Strong and relentless leadership from our allies and partners, including through the Indonesia G20 Presidency in 2022 and the Italy G20 Presidency in 2021, has brought us to this significant milestone.
Infectious diseases that cross borders, cause death, and disrupt societies and economies are a threat to national and global security. Over one million Americans and millions more around the world have died from COVID-19. Economies and societies have been devastated in its wake, and studies suggest the risk of another pandemic is significant. When it comes to preparing for the next pandemic, the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action. Investing in preparedness now is the right thing and the smart thing to do.
The generosity of the American people and Congress enabled my initial U.S. pledge of $450 million to support the fund from the outset, and it has galvanized other partners to step up immediately: commitments totaling nearly $1.1 billion have been made by the United States, the European Commission, Germany, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and a philanthropic foundation; we are optimistic others will soon join us.
To protect lives at home and all over the world, we must increase investments in pandemic preparedness. This requires sustained investment that goes beyond traditional global health and development programming, to ensure we address health security risks in addition to, and not in place of, existing global health challenges. Experts estimate that more than $10 billion annually is needed to fill international financing gaps for health security and pandemic preparedness. To begin filling those gaps, this new fund will complement existing global health programs – it is an investment in our global and national security that will yield significant economic and health dividends for years to come. As requested in my Fiscal Year 2023 Budget, I call on Congress to provide an additional $4.75 billion in mandatory and discretionary funds, which will greatly enhance the fund’s effectiveness and catalyze commitments from others.
Let me be clear: protecting the United States from infectious disease threats cannot be accomplished with incremental increases in annual global health spending alone. Additional financing is needed to make new progress against infectious diseases we will face, on top of continued demands for the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, and sustained support for longstanding global health investments and health systems, including the Seventh Replenishment of the Global Fund, which I look forward to hosting this September.
Today’s World Bank Board vote is a significant milestone, and the United States looks forward to doing its part to strengthen the global health security architecture.