RIYADH: The Saudi presidency of the Group of 20 major economies on Thursday called for more urgent donations to fund the emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to develop needed vaccines.
In a press statement, the G20 presidency urged countries, international organizations, the private sector, philanthropic institutions, and individuals to contribute and close the funding gap.
"COVID-19 is taking lives, separating families and threatening our economy. To fight it, funding is required immediately for emergency response, diagnostics, treatment, and the development, manufacturing, and deployment of necessary vaccines," said the statement posted on the G20 site, www.g20.org.
Some $1.9 billion had been donated so far, way below the $8 billion target set by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board.
Saudi Arabia, the holder of the G20 Presidency for 2020, pledged US$500 million.
“Global challenges demand global solutions and this is our time to stand and support the race for a vaccine and other therapeutic measures to combat COVID-19,” Saudi G20 Sherpa Fahad Almubarak said.