Paris Peace Forum Accelerates Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: European Commission
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: European Commission

Heads of state, global health leaders, scientists and the private sector came together at the Paris Peace Forum in November to discuss how to meet the urgent funding needs of the ACT Accelerator (Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator).

New contributions bring the total commitment to over US$ 5.1 billion – but an additional US$ 4.2 billion is needed this year, with a further US$ 23.9 billion required in 2021, if tools are to be deployed across the world as they become available.

Speaking at the Paris Peace Forum, Emmanuel Macron, President of France, said: “Together, we have implemented the ACT-A system, with the ambition to be part of a “global public good” approach, that is, to allow access for all to these tools to fight this pandemic.”

Fully financing the ACT-Accelerator will position the world to fundamentally change the dynamic of the pandemic. Funding gaps mean delays in access to tools in 2021 and the world continuing to rely on non-pharmaceutical interventions like stay-at-home orders and physical distancing as the primary line of defense against the virus.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission reminded delegates that the US$ 28 billion needed to fund the ACT-Accelerator to fulfill its objectives is equivalent to “the same sum the transport sector and the global tourism sector lose in just two days of lockdown”.

She added that “there is a very clear message behind it. It’s way better to invest now in the ACT Accelerator and to COVAX – for the distribution in every corner of the world of vaccines – than to struggle longer with all the confinement measures we have suffered during this pandemic.”

Against the ACT Accelerator’s US$ 38.1 billion budget, outlined in its newly published ‘Urgent Priorities & Financing Requirements’, US$ 5.1 billion has been committed to date, alongside down payments of US$ 4.8 billion through COVAX self-financing countries. The ACT Accelerator Commitment Tracker provides details on total commitments to date.

Fully financing the ACT Accelerator would shorten the pandemic, saving millions of lives with the investment paid back in as little as 36 hours as the global economy recovers.

The Access to Covid-19 Tools ACT Accelerator, is a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to Covid-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. It was set up in response to a call from G20 leaders in March and launched by the WHO, European Commission, France, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2020.

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Rakesh Raman