India calls for more multi-lateral funding to prepare for future pandemics

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Women walk past a graffiti amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New Delhi, India, February 7, 2022. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

NEW DELHI – India on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, urged the world’s biggest 20 economies (G20) to make joint efforts to ensure increased multi-lateral funding by global institutions including the International Monetary Fund to prepare for future pandemics.

Low middle-income and middle income countries do not have enough resources and need global support to face these challenges, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told her G20 counterparts hosted at a virtual meeting by Indonesia.

G20 members should work together to address the gaps in global pandemic preparedness, which were raising “serious concern”, Sitharaman said.

A general view of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting (FMCBG) at Jakarta Convention Center, Jakarta, Indonesia, February 17, 2022. Hafidz Mubarak A/Pool via REUTERS
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She said the World Health Organization (WHO) needed to augment its capacity and mobilize global resources, and structural bottlenecks would have to be addressed to lessen the impact a pandemic might have.

Earlier on Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged G20 members to back a proposed fund to invest in pandemic prevention and preparedness, warning that failure to close gaps in global health systems could result in “devastating” costs.

Yellen told finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s 20 top economies that the new financial intermediary fund – to be hosted at the World Bank – would help channel the estimated $75 billion in investments needed to reduce global vulnerabilities to future pandemics.

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