The kick-off of the first global donors’ conference against corona brought in € 7.4 billion. The money is earmarked for the development of medicines and a vaccine against Covid-19 that must be available to everyone. The new vaccine should not become a geopolitical weapon.
President Von der Leyen of the European Commission – who organized the video donor conference – was satisfied Monday afternoon after the end of the three-hour conference. The target of 7.5 billion was almost reached. “The world is united against the coronavirus and the world will win,” said Von der Leyen. The Commission itself donated 1 billion euros, the Netherlands 192 million. In total, Europe accounted for 4 billion euros.
The more than 7 billion is a first step. According to UN boss Guterres, five times as much money is needed to be able to inoculate a sufficiently large part of the world population in order to contain the virus. So far, 3.3 million people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus, Guterres said. More than 230 thousand people died from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
The White House and Kremlin were noticeably absent from the donor conference. Some EU officials hope that US President Trump will pledge a financial contribution before the end of May – until which time the donors conference will run. Others in Brussels point to Trump’s “own people first” course. The US president believes that China is responsible for the pandemic and chooses to develop a vaccine in the US.
Virtually all heads of government, presidents of international organizations and NGOs who took part in the conference (a total of approximately 60 including German Chancellor Merkel, French President Macron and the Chinese ambassador to Brussels) stressed the need for the vaccine to be available to all.
The lightning-fast outbreak of the corona virus – within a few months from a market in Wuhan, China to all corners of the world – shows that the virus is literally and figuratively boundless.
“We must protect everyone to protect ourselves,” said Von der Leyen. “The more divided we are, the more vulnerable we are,” said Spanish Prime Minister Sánchez.
The billions come when most European countries gently loosen the lockdown. Epidemiologists expect that the number of infections will increase again as a result. The one and a half meter measure will remain for the time being, a real recovery of social life and the economy is only possible if an effective and affordable vaccine has been developed and distributed.
The money goes, among other things, to international health care organizations that are committed to the development of vaccines and their spread in poorer countries in particular. Money also goes to Unitaid, an aid organization affiliated with the World Health Organization WHO.
It will be clear at the end of May how many billion the first donors conference will yield. Some countries, such as Turkey, will decide on their contribution later this month. Then it is also possible to find out which part of the financial commitments really concerns new money and not old promises that have been repackaged. An additional problem of international donor conferences is that promises are not kept. The Commission sees the donors’ conference as the first stage of a marathon.
No leader has dared to predict how long a vaccine will last. Many companies worldwide are working on it, the research results are shared. The billions now available can accelerate the search, but experts expect at least a year and a half before a vaccine is available on a global scale. The development of the Ebola vaccine took seven years.
Von der Leyen was nevertheless optimistic.
“This is a turning point in the fight against Covid-19. We are with many partners and have one goal. “In a joint opinion article by Merkel, Macron, EU President Michel and Von der Leyen, among others, the development of a vaccine in a global team is called” a unique achievement. “