$9.6b pledged for Covid-19 tests, vaccines at global event

Videograbs from Global Citizen's televised and streamed fund-raising concert featuring (from top) Miley Cyrus, Usher and Shakira, among others. It was part of a summit last Saturday that raised $9.6 billion for efforts to fight the coronavirus. PHOTO
Videograbs from Global Citizen's televised and streamed fund-raising concert featuring Miley Cyrus (above), Usher and Shakira, among others. It was part of a summit last Saturday that raised $9.6 billion for efforts to fight the coronavirus.PHOTOS: GLOBAL CITIZEN / FACEBOOK
Videograbs from Global Citizen's televised and streamed fund-raising concert featuring (from top) Miley Cyrus, Usher and Shakira, among others. It was part of a summit last Saturday that raised $9.6 billion for efforts to fight the coronavirus. PHOTO
Videograbs from Global Citizen's televised and streamed fund-raising concert featuring Miley Cyrus, Usher (above) and Shakira, among others. It was part of a summit last Saturday that raised $9.6 billion for efforts to fight the coronavirus.
Videograbs from Global Citizen's televised and streamed fund-raising concert featuring (from top) Miley Cyrus, Usher and Shakira, among others. It was part of a summit last Saturday that raised $9.6 billion for efforts to fight the coronavirus. PHOTO
Videograbs from Global Citizen's televised and streamed fund-raising concert featuring Miley Cyrus, Usher and Shakira (above), among others. It was part of a summit last Saturday that raised $9.6 billion for efforts to fight the coronavirus.

Participants stress that eventual vaccine should be available to anyone who needs it

BRUSSELS • A global fund-raising meeting has raised €6.15 billion (S$9.6 billion) from the United States, the European Commission (EC) and numerous countries to fight Covid-19, with many participants stressing that an eventual vaccine should be available to anyone who needs it.

The pledging summit last Saturday, part of a joint initiative by the European Union executive and advocacy group Global Citizen, included a globally televised and streamed fund-raising concert featuring many performers, including Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Shakira, Chloe X Halle and Usher.

The summit followed pledges of almost €10 billion from the EU, governments and billionaire philanthropists at a first fund-raising summit on May 4, bringing the total raised to €15.9 billion.

The EC together with the European Investment Bank pledged €4.9 billion on Saturday, the US US$545 million (S$759 million), Germany €383 million, Canada C$300 million (S$305 million) and Qatar US$10 million.

The money will be used for Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines, and also to support the world's poorest and most marginalised communities.

EC president Ursula von der Leyen said it was crucial that everyone who needed it should have access to a vaccine. "I am trying to convince high-income countries to reserve vaccines not only for themselves but also for low-and middle-income countries. This is a stress test for solidarity," she said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson concurred, saying: "If and when an effective vaccine is found, then we as world leaders have a moral duty to ensure that it is truly available to all."

French President Emmanuel Macron was adamant about pooling efforts together. "Let's refuse an every-man-for-himself approach, let's continue to move forward together," he said.

Cyrus said: "I have been really passionate about justice and equality and this campaign is all about making sure that everyone everywhere has access to the tools and solutions to end Covid-19."

Also involved in the event were philanthropist Melinda Gates, along with World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The EU is championing global cooperation in efforts to control and end the pandemic, in contrast to the US and China's focus on national initiatives.

STRESS TEST FOR SOLIDARITY

I am trying to convince high-income countries to reserve vaccines not only for themselves but also for low-and middle-income countries. This is a stress test for solidarity.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT URSULA VON DER LEYEN

 

The EU said 40 governments participated in the event, which saw many announcing national donations to the WHO, the United Nations' World Food Programme and other efforts to fight the pandemic internationally.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 
 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2020, with the headline '$9.6b pledged for Covid-19 tests, vaccines at global event'. Print Edition | Subscribe