The FIF Governing Board officially established the new Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) for pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR) at its first meeting from September 8–9, 2022.
Through investments and technical assistance at the national, regional, and international levels, the fund will offer a dedicated stream of additional, long-term finance to expand PPR capabilities in low- and middle-income countries and fill essential gaps. The fund will make use of the assets and comparative advantages of significant PPR-related institutions, offer complementary assistance, enhance partner coordination, encourage increased national investment, provide a platform for advocacy, and assist in concentrating and maintaining much-needed, high-level attention on improving health systems.
In November 2022, the first requests for investment projects that will be sponsored by the FIF will go live.
According to World Bank Group President David Malpass, COVID-19 has brought to light the urgent need for action to strengthen health systems. Saving lives and resources now will benefit future generations. We are happy to have been able to quickly establish the fund and welcome the broad support from the international community for this new multilateral financial intermediary fund at the World Bank to assist low- and middle-income countries and regions in becoming better prepared for global health crises.
On June 30, 2022, the World Bank Board of Directors approved the creation of the fund. The Secretariat, which will have technical employees seconded from the World Health Organization, will be housed by the World Bank, which will also act as the FIF’s trustee (WHO). In order to evaluate and advise the Governing Board on the technical merits of funding proposals while ensuring links to the International Health Regulations as part of the larger global PPR architecture, the Governing Board will appoint a Technical Advisory Panel headed by WHO and composed of top experts.
We also know that the next pandemic is a matter of when, not if, said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a seismic shock to the world. “Unless we take the bitter lessons from COVID-19 and implement the measures to close vital gaps in the global defenses against diseases and pandemics, the suffering and loss we have all experienced will be in vain. One of these important initiatives is the FIF, and WHO looks forward to carrying out its technical leadership role by advising the FIF Board on where to place the investments that will safeguard health the most effectively, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
A Governing Board, which will determine the general work program and decide on funding for the new fund, will be in charge of it. Equal participation of sovereign donors and possible implementing country governments (co-investors), as well as members of foundations and civil society groups, are included on the Governing Board of the FIF (CSOs).
Prior to the first call for ideas, the World Bank and WHO will step up their collaboration with the Governing Board in consultation with CSOs and other stakeholders to assist operationalize the fund and establish the FIF performance framework and priorities.
In areas including zoonotic disease surveillance, laboratories, emergency communication, coordination, and management, essential health worker capacities, and community participation, FIF money could assist build and sustain PPR capacity. Projects supported by the FIF can also boost PPR at the regional and international levels, for instance by enhancing the capability of medical countermeasures. Peer-to-peer learning can be supported by the FIF, which can also offer specialized technical support and aid in the regular evaluation of PPR capabilities.
Members of the G20 and others provided significant support for the development of the FIF. Financial commitments totaling more than US$1.4 billion have already been made public, and more are anticipated in the near future. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, Australia, Canada, China, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all made commitments thus far.