Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has rallied the international community around the need to develop a vaccine against the virus, produce it, deploy it to every corner of the Earth and make it available at affordable prices.
The European Commission together with its partners:
- raised almost €10 billion for vaccines, diagnostics and treatments in only 1 month
- Set up the ACT-Accelerator, a global cooperation framework for the development of coronavirus tests, treatments and vaccines
- Brought together 40 countries and organisations, and dozens of artists and philanthropists in an unprecedented global effort
Thanks to this expression of global unity, the chances of being able to give a vaccine to anyone who needs it, everywhere, are within our reach.
Launch of the Global Response
President von der Leyen first presented the idea of a global, coordinated response to the pandemic at the meeting of G20 leaders on 26 March, who agreed to establish such an initiative.
In the following weeks, President von der Leyen engaged with global health actors and philanthropists:
- WHO: https://www.who.int
- Gavi: https://www.gavi.org
- the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board: http://www.gpmb.org
- the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: https://www.gatesfoundation.org
- the Wellcome Trust: https://wellcome.org
WHO and a group of global actors soon launched a call for collaboration in accelerating the development, production and equitable access to coronavirus tools. President von der Leyen answered to this call and announced on 24 April (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_710) that the Commission was joining forces with partners to kick-start a pledging effort, the Coronavirus Global Response, on 4 May 2020.
She invited countries and organisations around the world to donate to help reach the target of €7.5 billion ($8 billion) in initial funding.
Very quickly, many countries expressed their interest to be Coronavirus Global Response partners, among others Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Spain and the United Kingdom.
On 4 May, a pledging event brought together more than 50 world leaders, CEOs and international organisations and raised €7.4 billion including a pledge of €1.4 billion by the Commission.
On 4 May, the Commission also proposed a cooperation framework to align global efforts and accelerate progress in developing coronavirus vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics: the ACT-Accelerator.
Three partnerships, based on the three priorities of the Coronavirus Global Response, are at its core. They gather industry, research, foundations, regulators and international organisations to work together on all steps needed to deliver new tools and solutions, from research to manufacturing and deployment. With the framework up and running, work will now be taken forward under the auspices of the World Health Organization.
The pledging marathon continues
On 28 May, the Commission announced that Coronavirus Global Response had raised an additional €2.3 billion in less than a month, resulting in €9.8 billion in total. €6.5 billion was pledged by Team Europe: EU and EEA countries, the Commission and the European Investment Bank.
In this context, €1 billion was pledged to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance,
The Commission pledged €300 million (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_989) to Gavi for the period 2021-2025. This will help immunise 300 million children around the world and finance vaccine stockpiles to shield against outbreaks of other infectious diseases, such as measles, HPV and polio.
On 28 May President von der Leyen launched a new campaign with international advocacy organisation Global Citizen, “Global Goal: Unite For Our Future” (https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/media/globalgoalunite).
It will culminate in a major global event on 27 June seeking to raise the considerable resources needed to accelerate the development of new solutions and ensure their universal and inclusive access.
Global artists including Adam Lambert, Chloe x Halle, Chris Rock, Coldplay, Dionne Warwick, Femi Kuti, Fher of Maná, Hugh Jackman, Idris & Sabrina Elba, J Balvin, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Lang Lang, Miley Cyrus, Padma Lakshmi, Rachel Brosnahan and Shakira have announced that they would help raise awareness and rally people to the cause.