World Bank Must Be Held Accountable, Release Pandemic Emergency Financing Funds To Address Ebola, Opinion Piece Says
Foreign Policy: The World Bank Has the Money to Fight Ebola but Won’t Use It
Laurie Garrett, former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations
“…[T]he World Bank’s sentiments [on Ebola] have not been mirrored by its actions. Indeed, the bank has behaved reprehensibly. In 2014, in response to the tremendous financial shortfalls that delayed national and global responses to the West African Ebola epidemic, then World Bank President Jim Yong Kim publicly and repeatedly vowed that ‘never again’ would an epidemic be allowed to unfold for reason of lack of funds. He created a unique, and rather complicated, set of insurance and hedge funds inside the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) to be used to combat outbreaks. Dubbed the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, or PEF, the idea was to amass billions of dollars in insurance, bonds, and hedge funds that could be activated, based on unstated triggers, for use in fighting outbreaks. Investors were encouraged to put money into the various disease-specific funds, hedging against outbreaks. … Beyond the small sum of $20 million given two months ago, the PEF has not been activated for the Ebola epidemic. … WHO may declare a global emergency, but it will not have any impact on the World Bank’s decision to release money. … It is appalling that the bank has failed the people of Ituri and North Kivu, and placed the people of neighboring South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in harm’s way. It must be held accountable for its unconscionable refusal to release the PEF funds that are, by design, specifically meant to address precisely the sort of situation now unfolding in the Democratic Republic of the Congo” (7/22).