Tharman to co-chair G-20 high-level panel on financing for pandemic preparedness and response

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be one of the three co-chairs for the high-level G-20 panel. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam is co-chairing a new international panel on the financing of pandemic preparedness and response.

He is one of three co-chairs of the Group of 20 High Level Independent Panel (HLIP) on Financing the Global Commons for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, which was proposed under this year's G-20 Italian presidency.

The other two co-chairs are former United States treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, and former Nigerian finance and foreign minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

In a joint press statement on Thursday (Jan 28), the G-20, Bank of Italy and Italian Ministry of Finance said the panel will have two key tasks: to identify gaps in the financing system of the global commons for pandemic prevention, surveillance, preparedness and response; and to propose solutions to meet these gaps and leverage resources from the public, private and philanthropic sectors and international financial institutions.

The other 18 panel members include former Colombian minister of economic development Luis Alberto Moreno, former European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet, former International Monetary Fund deputy managing director Zhu Min, former Japanese deputy vice-minister of finance Naoko Ishii, and 2019 Nobel Prize winner in economics Michael Kremer.

"The panel composition ensures broad regional and gender balance. Panel members are world experts, who collectively bring deep knowledge and experience in finance, governance and global health," the statement said.

The HLIP will, in particular, interact with global health actors such as the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPR) established by the World Health Organisation. The IPPR was set up in July 2020 to evaluate the world's response to the pandemic.

The HLIP will also provide an interim report to the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors at their meeting in April, before presenting its recommendations during their July meeting.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, wrote: "There's no avoiding a basic lesson of Covid-19: We have to invest in a stronger international system to avoid the immense costs of a pandemic on nations, large and small. We can and must develop practical solutions for better funding of the global commons, and to revitalise multilateralism.

"Finance is not the whole solution, but it is indispensable to a safer world."

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