WASHINGTON - Today, Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen met with Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization (WHO) to discuss the COVID-19 response and longer-term financing for, and strengthening of, the global architecture for pandemic preparedness, including through the G20 Finance Health Task Force (FHTF) and a financial intermediary fund (FIF) for pandemic preparedness.
Secretary Yellen welcomed Dr. Tedros’ and WHO’s leadership and discussed the importance of continuing to work toward the target of vaccinating 70 percent of the population in all countries this year, as well as the challenges to increasing vaccination rates. Secretary Yellen emphasized that the U.S. remains committed to helping countries to get more shots in arms around the world and to supporting robust, well-coordinated efforts, including with the international financial institutions.
Secretary Yellen and Dr. Tedros also emphasized the critical goal of addressing gaps in pandemic preparedness and financing now. Secretary Yellen stressed that the G20 Finance-Health Task Force should play a key role in bringing Finance Ministries and their Health counterparts more directly into efforts to boost cooperation and reinforce the global health architecture. They agreed on the urgency of tackling the chronic under-funding of pandemic preparedness before the world’s attention turns elsewhere. Secretary Yellen underscored the United States’ commitment to working closely with the WHO, the World Bank and G20 partners during Indonesia’s presidency to develop a financial intermediary fund (FIF) on pandemic preparedness housed at the World Bank as an important part of the global efforts to improve pandemic preparedness finance. They agreed that a FIF would be a concrete example of health and finance experts drawing on their respective strengths to design an important element of the pandemic preparedness architecture.