Saudi Arabia leads global pledging 'marathon' to raise funds for coronavirus research

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia, which holds the presidency of the G20, led an international pledging “marathon” on Monday to raise funds for research into a possible vaccine and treatments for the novel coronavirus, after rich countries promised a unified response.

The virtual even was joined by world leaders representing the European Union, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Norway. During the meeting, they pledged $8 billion in the fight against the pandemic.

“In the space of just few hours we have collectively pledged 7.4 billion euros ($8.1 billion) for vaccine, diagnostics and treatment” against COVID-19, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said after chairing the online event.

“This will help kick-start unprecedented global cooperation,” she added.

Saudi Arabia has already pledged $500 million to international organizations to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Of this, the country will allocate $150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI), $150 million to The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), and $200 million to other international and regional health organizations and programs.

Saudi Arabia was represented at the G20 event by Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah.

"I would like to extend our appreciation to the European Commission, colleagues and international organizations for coming together and engaging in this high level pledging marathon.”

On behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia G20 Presidency, it gives me a great honor to partake in such a tremendous and impactful event,” the statement quoted Al-Rabiah as saying.

“We have suffered grave losses due to this pandemic, but it has also demonstrated our humanity and today is a proof that, through our solidarity and commitment, we can fight this pandemic together,” the Saudi health minister underlined in the statement.

“In a summit on 26 March, G20 leaders have committed to closing this health financing gap, and invited all countries, NGOs and philantropic organizations to join these efforts.”

“The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board estimated an initial $8 billion to make up for the immediate global health funding shortfalls,” the statement added.

“As such, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has pledged $500 million dollars, and is urging all members, and organizations, to commit to empowering global solidarity and bridging direct funding gaps.”

In this event, we must keep in mind the importance of safeguarding everyone's health globally, as we face this crisis with catastrophic effects on people's lives and well-being,” the Saudi minister emphasized in the statement.

“This pledge is urgently needed to ensure development and deployment of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine globally.

The WHO, CEPI, GAVI, Fine therapuetics accelarator and other renowned organizations will be enabled to provide the support needed to all countries to put this pandemic behind us.”

In closing, overcoming this crisis requires an urgent and exceptional global response.

Our primary responsibility is to ensure that our people are protected from disease and to make all efforts necessary to eliminate it. Thank you," the statement concluded.




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