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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH — Saudi Arabia, which holds the presidency of the G20, led an international pledging “marathon” on Monday to raise funds for research into a possible vaccine and treatments for the novel coronavirus, after rich countries promised a unified response.
The “marathon” was joined by the European Union, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Norway.
Saudi Arabia has already pledged $500 million to international organizations to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Of this, the country will allocate $150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI), $150 million to The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), and $200 million to other international and regional health organizations and programs.
Saudi Arabia was represented at the G20 event by Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah.
"I would like to extend our appreciation to the European Commission, colleagues and international organizations for coming together and engaging in this high level pledging marathon.”
On behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia G20 Presidency, it gives me a great honor to partake in such a tremendous and impactful event,” the statement quoted Al-Rabiah as saying.
“We have suffered grave losses due to this pandemic, but it has also demonstrated our humanity and today is a proof that, through our solidarity and commitment, we can fight this pandemic together,” the Saudi health minister underlined in the statement.
“In a summit on 26 March, G20 leaders have committed to closing this health financing gap, and invited all countries, NGOs and philantropic organizations to join these efforts.”
“The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board estimated an initial $8 billion to make up for the immediate global health funding shortfalls,” the statement added.
“As such, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has pledged $500 million dollars, and is urging all members, and organizations, to commit to empowering global solidarity and bridging direct funding gaps.”
In this event, we must keep in mind the importance of safeguarding everyone's health globally, as we face this crisis with catastrophic effects on people's lives and well-being,” the Saudi minister emphasized in the statement.
“This pledge is urgently needed to ensure development and deployment of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine globally.
The WHO, CEPI, GAVI, Fine therapuetics accelarator and other renowned organizations will be enabled to provide the support needed to all countries to put this pandemic behind us.”
In closing, overcoming this crisis requires an urgent and exceptional global response.
Our primary responsibility is to ensure that our people are protected from disease and to make all efforts necessary to eliminate it. Thank you," the statement concluded.
Meanwhile Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged that Germany would contribute 525 million euros ($573.51 million) to a global fund-raising push to search for vaccines and for a treatment for the novel coronavirus.
"We will contribute 525 million euros directly to this pledging conference and we will also continue our obligations for global health overall with around 1.3 billion euros," Merkel said.
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