$1.4b fund unveiled for developing countries to tackle pandemic threats
Governments and the private sector need to work more closely together to help the global economy recover sustainably from the damage inflicted on it by the pandemic, speakers at the Group of 20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, said.
Several participants said that this is in fact the essence of "Recover together, recover stronger" — the theme of this year's summit. The G20 is an intergovernmental forum of the world's major economies, and it opened on Sunday.
At the opening of the event, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo launched the $1.4 billion Pandemic Fund to help developing countries manage and cope with future pandemics and other global health threats. The fund received seed funding from 24 donors in both the public and private sectors.
Widodo, who made the announcement via video link, welcomed the financing from major donors including Canada, China, Japan, the US and philanthropic foundations.
However, the amount is insufficient to cover needs, he said, calling for more support.
The fund is one example of how private and public sectors can work together to tackle pressing issues. This is especially crucial for Indonesia, which is presiding over the G20 Summit as economies worldwide recovers from the pandemic.
The pandemic fund commitment is included in the agenda of the G20 leaders' summit, the secretary-general of Indonesia's Ministry of Health, Kunta Wibawa Dasa, said on Friday.
The summit is being held at the same time as the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt, at which developing economies are calling for climate financing and loss and damage compensation from industrialized countries.
"The business community can contribute quite a lot (in post-pandemic recovery)," said Suwito, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hong Kong and Macao Committee.
On the sidelines of the Business 20 summit, Suwito said this year's B20 Summit focuses on advancing innovative, inclusive and collaborative growth.
Kennedy Wong, a Hong Kong legislator taking part in Business 20, said the world "has been through a difficult time", and now is the right time for everyone "to work with each other to share with each other. Our vision, our way (is) to develop a global village."
Backing green initiatives
B20 is the official business group that leads engagement with the G20. B20's theme is in line with the G20's focus of "recover together", Wong said, adding that businesses can help in the recovery by supporting more green initiatives, empowering women entrepreneurs and nurturing micro, small and medium-sized companies.
The two-day B20, which will end on Monday, aims to produce a communique that will list the business sector's proposals for the G20.
Shri Jayant Sinha, a member of India's parliament and former minister of state for finance, delivered the closing remarks during Sunday's side event on blended finance.
Blended finance refers to the mobilization of both public and corporate funding to attain socioeconomic development goals. Blended finance is the focus of the Tri Hita Karana Forum on Sustainable Development.
Sinha said India is working on "innovative financial instruments (that can) drive significant investment in climate finance".
Decarbonization would need international collaboration and "very substantial amounts of capital", he said, and he estimated that India's climate financing alone would need $100 billion each year.
"There are various estimates which imply that the Global South is going to require a trillion dollars annually (for) climate finance. Now, this is certainly not going to come from governments. It's certainly not going to come from multilateral development banks or development finance institutions."
Unless such funds can be mobilized, Sinha said, "we are not going to be able to decarbonize in the Global South".
On Saturday the Environmental, Social, and Governance Framework and Manual for government support and facilities in infrastructure financing was launched. This initiative is the first ESG policy established by the Indonesian Ministry of Finance in infrastructure financing.