University of Queensland scientists are busy in the lab, as part of an international collaboration to develop a vaccine for the recent coronavirus outbreak. Photo credit: University of Queensland.
The pledge will back Vaccine Bonds, funding CEPI’s COVID-19 programme.
The pledge will back Vaccine Bonds, funding CEPI’s COVID-19 programme
London, 12 June 2020 – The Kingdom of Norway has committed NOK 2 billion (approximately US$ 200 million) to the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) to issue Vaccine Bonds that will expedite funding through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which is working to rapidly develop COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
Norway had announced an allocation of more than NOK 2 billion in increased support for vaccine development on 26 March 2020. As part of that effort, Norway will pay pledges to IFFIm over ten instalments for the period 2021 to 2030 and utilise IFFIm’s innovative frontloading mechanism to raise NOK 2 billion on the capital markets immediately through Vaccine Bonds.
Proceeds from the Vaccine Bonds will be disbursed to Gavi, which intends to use such funds in support of CEPI, the Oslo-based, public-private initiative set up to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases. CEPI has made an urgent call for US$ 2 billion to support the development of a vaccine against the virus responsible for COVID-19. The World Bank, IFFIm’s Treasury Manager, is responsible for coordination of the issuance.
This pledge follows a previous contribution of NOK 600 million supporting CEPI through IFFIm and Gavi that resulted in a July 2019 Vaccine Bond transaction and raised funding for CEPI’s work developing vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.
“The crisis we are in now requires resources on a massive scale. This is what IFFIm was designed to do,” said Dag-Inge Ulstein, Norwegian Development Minister. “With today’s pledge, IFFIm, Gavi and CEPI can leverage each other’s resources in a collective approach to defuse the threat of COVID-19 and make the world a safer place.”
“We are delighted by Norway’s decision to support CEPI through IFFIm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IFFIm Board Chair Cyrus Ardalan. “Norway, as one of IFFIm’s founding donors, has been steadfast in its commitment to innovative finance and the use of vaccines to save lives.”
In addition to this commitment, Norway recently renewed its overall contribution to Gavi’s 2021 to 25 period of NOK 10.25 billion, including a pledge to IFFIm of NOK 4 billion over the next 10 years (approximately US$ 400 million). Norway is a founding IFFIm donor and had committed a total of US$ 330 million since 2006.
“IFFIm has for years played an essential role in the success of Gavi’s immunisation programs in some of the world’s poorest countries,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “We’re now applying that proven tool to the most urgent crisis in more than a century. With Norway’s pledge, IFFIm and Gavi can support CEPI’s ambitious programme to find a vaccine to fight this pandemic.”
“This pledge is an important step forward to deliver a safe, effective and globally accessible COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI. “We’re grateful to the Norwegian government and to Gavi and IFFIm for their partnership.”
IFFIm was established in 2006 in support of Gavi as a way to accelerate funding for immunisation in the world’s poorest countries. IFFIm has been instrumental in accelerating Gavi’s impact and safeguarding financial flexibility. Since 2006, IFFIm has leveraged donor pledges – including from Norway – to issue Vaccine Bonds on global capital markets, generating approximately US$ 6.2 billion through 35 issuances in eight currencies. IFFIm is widely regarded as a pioneering social bond issuer, and Vaccine Bonds have enjoyed strong demand from socially responsible investors due to the clarity and focus of Gavi’s mission.