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Financing the global response to Covid-19: which G20 countries play by the rules?

Published 30 September 2021 in Facts and figures

The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), an unprecedented international partnership to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines and to strengthen health systems globally, requires an additional US$ 16.2 billion in 2021 to deliver on its objectives.

Which countries contribute their fair share to ACT-A, the global partnership to guarantee equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines? Analysis.

ACT-A still has a large funding gap for 2021

To deliver on its full promise, the ACT Accelerator’s initial needs were of US$ 38.1 billion. This estimate was revised to US$ 33.2 billion.

Financial commitments to pillars and agencies of the ACT Accelerator by public, private and multilateral donors are updated by the World Health Organization on the ACT Accelerator Commitment Tracker on a bi-weekly basis.

According to the latest data, published on September 30th, 2021, the ACT Accelerator has a funding gap amounting to US$ 16.2 billion for 2021.

The international community supports, beyond the scope of the ACT Accelerator, several initiatives to mitigate the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

In this regard, the Economist Intelligence Unit tracks COVID-19 response and research commitments through its COVID-19 Health Funding tracker.

High-income countries do not contribute their fair share to ACT-A

Of the initial US$ 38.1 billion needed to reach ACT-A’s objectives by the end of 2021, US$ 28.6 billion are expected to by provided by governments, which can contribute directly to individual ACT-A partner organisations.

As of October 2021, despite the US$ 16 billion commitments from 51 governments, US$12.6 billion of public pledges are still missing.

A Financial Working Group was established within ACT-A’s Facilitation Council to explore funding mechanisms for ACT-A. In this respect, the working group established the "ACT-A Sovereign Ask Financing Framework" to determine a target contribution expected by country given its level of wealth, or "fair share".

The fair share is determined based on each country’s income level (GDP) and economic openness. It is adjusted to also take into account each country’s GDP per capita, so that countries with the highest levels of income per capita bear a higher contribution. Finally, to collectively reduce the risk of under-contribution by some countries, each country’s fair share is increased by 20%.

Following the 5th ACT-A Facilitation Council meeting on March 23rd, 2021, the governments of Norway and South Africa, co-chairs of the Facilitation Council, undertook bilateral negotiations calling on countries to contribute their fair share to ACT-A’s funding.

The following table presents each G20 members’ fair share of ACT-A’s funding, and compares it with its actual contribution as of October 2021, in USD and as a proportion of its fair share.

Further reading

Global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines estimated to generate economic benefits of at least US$ 153 billion in 2020–21 - Eurasia Group If rich countries monopolize COVID-19 vaccines, it could cause twice as many deaths as distributing them equally - News @ Northeastern ACT now, ACT together: 2020-2021 Impact Report - WHO "I run the WHO, and I know that rich countries must make a choice" - NY Times Financing Global Health Security Fairly | Center For Global Development