COVID-19

Pandemic Action Plan: Is Canada Investing our Fair Share in the Global Pandemic Response?

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We need to invest 1% of our Covid-19 response to fight the global pandemic and #EndCovidEverywhere.

The world is interconnected. This virus quickly jumped borders, showing everyone that no one will be safe until everyone is safe. That is why we need to invest in fighting the pandemic both at home and all over the world.

Canadian development organizations and medical experts agreed that Canada should take 1% of our total Covid-19 spending and invest it in the global pandemic response. And because this is an emergency, we need to act now.

We are over seven months into the global Covid pandemic. So, let’s take a moment to check-in to see if Canada is “pulling our weight” when it comes to investing in the global pandemic response.

Progress was slow, but in the last weeks of September, Canada stepped up in a big way. We are now almost halfway to that goal!

So far, the Government invested $1.1 billion in the global pandemic response, $740 million of which is so-called “new” money – aka it did not come from the existing foreign aid budget. This is significant and a sign that the Government is listening to the voices of Canadians, the development sector, and global health experts.

We can applaud the recent investments Canada made – they are good steps in the right direction – BUT this means we only invested 0.49% of our total Covid spending on the global pandemic response (about half-way to our 1% goal).
We still need more action and more investments. Canada is not yet pulling our weight when it comes to the global pandemic response.

When we say that we need more, it is not a criticism of what the Government invested to date. The early investments are strong, but the journey is long.

Canada made an initial investment in the Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), which helps get Covid tests, treatments, and eventually vaccines to countries that need them the most. This partnership of the world’s best global health organisations is already showing results, like securing 120 million rapid tests for lower-income countries.

As part of this ACT-A investment, we stepped up and supported the Covax facility, which will help coordinate global vaccine research and development efforts to make sure that everyone, everywhere has access to lifesaving research and vaccines.

Through Canada’s support of tried and trusted humanitarian organisations like the World Food Programme, which was just awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Canada is tackling some of the secondary effects of the pandemic: increased hunger and poverty.

All of this is a good step in the right direction, but the journey is not done. The Government must not stop now thinking that the initial investments are enough. Canada needs to invest our fair share in the global pandemic response.

Use your voice to encourage the Government of Canada to keep stepping up – it is a long road and we need to keep moving forward. We can #EndCovidEverywhere but only if we act now and invest our fair share. Where you live should not determine whether you live.

We are halfway to our “fair share”. With your voice, we can help end the pandemic sooner. (It is an emergency after all!) If the world invests and coordinates, the global pandemic response will save countless lives and bring our lives “back to normal” again.

Send a call to action via Twitter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance.

Send an email to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance.

A breakdown of Canada’s investments in the global pandemic response so far

  • $725 million to humanitarian and development agencies to tackle the impacts of the pandemic on food security, education, sexual and reproductive health and rights (announced on April 5th, June 8th, June 27th and Sept. 29th)
  • $413 million to the ACT-Accelerator, of which $253 million to the Covax Advance Market Commitment (AMC) to help lower income countries have access to Covid-19 vaccines (Announced on June 4th, June 27th and Sept. 25th)

So that totals $1.1 billion invested in the global pandemic response so far. This is a huge number by its self, but we need to compare it to Canada’s total Covid spending. Canada spent $230 billion to tackle the pandemic here (as of July 2020). For the global pandemic response to be effective, we need to invest 1% of that in the global effort.
But, we are at just 0.49%.

What can Canada invest in with the other half of our global pandemic response?

First, more is needed to end the pandemic itself, as soon as possible.

The ACT-Accelerator, which is the only global coordination mechanism to ensure Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines are available in rich and poor countries alike, is still severely underfunded.
Out of the US$38 billion needed to produce 2 billion doses of a vaccine, 245 million treatments, and 500 million tests, less than $4 billion has been received from donors so far—just 10% or total needs. Canada has contributed around 40% of its fair share to the ACT-A to date.

$38 billion is a lot of money, but the world economy is expected to lose 150 times that amount in the first year of Covid-19! If we do not act now, the pandemic will last longer and more lives will be at risk.

Secondly, the secondary symptoms of the pandemic are devastating in developing countries. The pandemic is threatening to push up to 115 million people into poverty in 2020 alone. We could be losing years or even decades in the fight against extreme poverty because of Covid-19.

But if countries like Canada invest just 1% of what they spent at home to tackle this virus and its effects; we can prevent the worst from happening. Humanitarian and development organizations working on the ground can be supported to help kids return to school safely, provide emergency food and nutrition assistance, and prevent millions of cases of gender-based violence, child marriages and unintended pregnancies.

Ultimately, ending Covid everywhere is the only way to end if here and to get the world economy—and therefore Canada’s economy—back on track. The global pandemic response is our best chance to go “back to normal”!

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