Australia joins pandemic preparedness fund

Australia will provide money as part of a new global fund to help protect countries against future pandemics.

Speaking at a G20 virtual meeting, Health Minister Mark Butler and Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the federal government would contribute to the new financial intermediary fund.

The fund, established through the World Bank and World Health Organisation, will bring together key institutions to help tackle the risks of future pandemics in the wake of COVID-19.

“Few events have had greater impact than the pandemic on our way of life,” Mr Butler told the joint meeting of health and finance ministers.

“We have an opportunity to strengthen our collective ability to better prepare for future pandemics.”

Australia’s final contribution to the fund will be determined as part of existing federal funding for overseas development assistance.

The new fund is aimed at addressing key gaps in the prevention, preparedness and response to future pandemics.

Dr Chalmers said Australia was pleased to be able to play its part in the new fund.

“While it has often been said that COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, we all know our most vulnerable citizens were impacted most by both the health and economic damage of this awful virus,” he told the summit.

“The G20’s collective action is important, and I urge all members and guests here today to continue to support Indonesia’s leadership in addressing systemic financing gaps for pandemic preparedness and response.”

The treasurer also confirmed he would attend the G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Bali next month.

Indonesia is presiding over the G20 this year, with world leaders also meeting in Bali for talks during November.

During the meeting, finance and health ministers discussed coordination arrangements to address gaps in preventing pandemics, along with reviewing progress made by the WHO and World Bank in setting up the fund.


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