World leaders and organizations pledged $8bn to research, manufacture and distribute a possible vaccine and treatments for COVID-19 on Monday.
Organizers included the EU and non-EU countries Britain, Norway and Saudi Arabia. Leaders from Japan, Canada, South Africa and dozens of other countries joined the virtual event. While China, where the virus is believed to have originated, was only represented by its ambassador to the European Union.
The video conference was called for Saudi Arabia in its capacity as president of the G20.
In the space of just few hours, we collectively pledged $8.1bn for vaccine, diagnostics and treatment against COVID-19; the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also said after chairing the online event.
“This will help kick-start unprecedented global cooperation,” she added.
G20’s pioneering role
Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al Rabiah highlighted the pioneering role played by the G20 in confronting the pandemic. He also pointed to his call in March for Monday’s summit to be held.
He announced that at the order of King Salman bin Abdulaziz; Saudi Arabia donated $500mn for the fight against the outbreak.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan stressed that the Kingdom had exerted national efforts to bolster the rapid response to the repercussions of the pandemic and limit it health, economic and human impact.
He also said that Saudi Arabia was quick to take all preventive measures to protect the safety of its citizens and residents without exception.
As G20 president for 2020; he added that Saudi Arabia took the initiative in calling for an extraordinary summit for the group. King Salman chaired the summit and aimed at bolstering international efforts to combat the outbreak.
In addition to the $500mn to fight the global outbreak, it also donated 10 million to the World Health Organization, he continued.
Saudi Arabia also extended its generosity to a number of countries affected by the pandemic. It offered 38 million to the legitimate government in Yemen and signed agreements to provide necessary medical equipment to more than 2 million Palestinian beneficiaries in the Gaza Strip, he stated.
Prince Faisal underlined the need to intensify international efforts to confront diseases and epidemics.
“If we want to emerge stronger after this crisis, then we must exchange accurate and transparent information at the right time. We must provide the necessary resources and scientific research. We must also develop medicines and vaccines to meet the growing demand for medical supplies,” he remarked.
“God willing; with our solidarity and cooperation, we will help us overcome this crisis and emerge stronger than before,” he hoped.
“We are fighting in one battle against a single enemy. We are now more aware of the limits of individual efforts to combat such a serious pandemic,” he said.