Movilización de recursos

Investment boosted to avert future Pandemics


©FAO/Abdulhakim

FAO welcomes the new Pandemic Fund and role as Implementing Entity to support countries to better prevent, prepare and respond

17/05/2023 - 

The World Bank kick-started the application process to the Pandemic Fund, calling for proposals for an initial envelope of USD300million with a deadline on the 19th of May. The Fund is the direct result of G20 Finance and Health Ministers efforts, pushed forward under the strong leadership of the Italian, Indonesian and now Indian Presidency. Pledges have reached USD 1.7 billion, aimed at providing critical investments to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPR) capacities in low- and middle-income countries.

Applications are based on country and regional needs, drawn from key national health assessments and place governments in the driving seat. Proposals are designed with the support of accredited Implementing Entities, through which the funds are channelled. FAO welcomes it nomination as one of thirteen Implementing Entities, alongside partners including the WHO, UNICEF and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and is working closely with governments and partners to design proposals.

FAO working to strengthen key sectors through a collaborative One Health approach

The Covid-19 crisis acutely demonstrated the fall-out caused from under-investment. To effectively manage pandemics, strong collaboration between the veterinary and human health sectors is necessary to reduce their impact on health and food security. The One Health approach recognizes this complex interlinkage between human, animal, plant, and environmental health and aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of all.

Animal health systems are often the weakest link. Since 60% of infectious diseases with pandemic potential emerge from an animal source, focusing on animal and environmental health is vital.  Through discussions on the Pandemic Fund set-up, FAO has consistently engaged with the G20, together with the Quadripartite (FAO, WOAH, WHO and UNEP), presenting the firm view that preventing pandemics cannot be achieved by the health sector alone. It takes a One Health approach, involving multiple stakeholders and a cross-sectoral response. FAO offers support to governments, bringing longstanding experience in veterinary services, including passive and active surveillance, as well as fast reporting to allow mitigation via digital channels (e.g. case alerts), quality assurance and biosafety for animal health labs, alongside training such as for Veterinary Para-professionals and via field epidemiological programmes.

Proactive engagement

The Pandemic Fund's first round focuses on three key priorities, including comprehensive surveillance, national laboratory systems and human resources, underpinned by a One Health approach.  Through initial Expressions of Interest the Fund received a very positive response with high demand from countries and regional entities. Over 100 Expressions of Interest submitted cited FAO as a key partner.

FAO is now proactively reaching out through its network of Regional, Subregional and Country Offices, providing key technical services to governments, in coordination with other Implementing Entities, specifically bringing a One Health, animal health and zoonosis dimension to proposal design.

Guided by the One Health Priority Programme Area (FAO Strategic Framework 2022-31), and joint work with the Quadripartite (FAO, WHO, WOAH and UNEP) through the recently launched One Health Joint Plan of Action, FAO will work to strengthen capacities from community level to national and regional levels, working in close collaboration with other Implementing Entities and delivery partners. All proposals submitted aim at working in coalition with other Implementing Entities to support countries and regional entities, and will work with delivery partners, including government institutions or Civil Society Organizations.

Ministries of Agriculture, particularly Chief Veterinary Officers, from Pandemic Fund eligible countries, are playing a lead role in working with Ministries of Health and national One Health Platforms, liaising closely with FAO and WHO, UNICEF and the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), in particular, to develop proposals.

Catalysing more

The Pandemic Fund represents an important stepping-stone towards more sustainable investment in PPR across sectors, but the funds are a fraction of what is required. It will take all forms of finance and partnerships to bring pandemic prevention to scale, working through a whole-of-society approach, including leveraging domestic resources, collaborating with financial institutions and engaging the private sector and civil society. It will also take fundamental changes in the way we interact with the environment, aiming for greater sustainability including in food system transformation.

The Pandemic Fund is a critical means to increase investment and financing for national One Health strategies and plans. As emphasized by the Quadripartite’ s recent Call to Action for One Health there is a need for greater financing to ensure scaled up implementation at all levels, if we are to prevent health threats at source.