Coronavirus: The European Commission pledges $1.09 billion for G20 COVID-19 fight

President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen. (Screengrab)

The G20, hosted by Saudi Arabia, has called for $8 billion and a coordinated response between global health organizations to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Global Response Pledging Marathon that began at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, each of the G20 made a funding pledge for the cause.

The European Commission is pledging 1 billion euros ($1.09 billion) for the coronavirus global response, according to President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen. European Council President Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron also called for a coordinated effort to tackle coronavirus.

Japanese President Shinzo Abe said that Japan was pledging various amounts to vaccine development and UN funds. He also reiterated his commitment to hosting the Olympics in Tokyo in 2021.

Norway will give $1 billion to support the distribution worldwide of any vaccine developed against COVID-19 as well as for vaccines against other diseases, said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

Spain will contribute 125 million euros to the coronavirus response fund, according to its Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's discussed the importance of finding and distributing a vaccine. "It's humanity against the virus. We're in this together, and together we will prevail," said Johnson.

Various other leaders including Angela Merkel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke. However, the US was absent.

Saudi Arabia calls for global funding

Saudi Arabia, as the holder of the G20 Presidency, is leading the event, along with the European Union, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Norway.

“The Saudi G20 Presidency is calling on global partners to support this funding campaign to ensure that we can say, for generations to come, that we defeated COVID-19 as a global community,” a statement from the G20 secretariat read.

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.

The Kingdom has also called on all countries, non-governmental organizations, philanthropies, and the private sector to take part in the global efforts to close the required financing gap in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, which is estimated to be over $8 billion according to the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB).

Saudi Arabia's Minsiter of Health Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan al-Rabiah said reiterated that the Kingdom has pledged $500 million to the coronavirus cause.

"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," he said.

"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," he added.

Read the full statement here.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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