World leaders pledge $8 billion to fight COVID-19 but U.S. steers clear
Organisers included the European Union and non-EU countries Britain, Norway and Saudi Arabia. Leaders from Japan, Canada, South Africa and dozens of other countries joined the virtual event, while China, where the virus is believed to have originated, was only represented by its ambassador to the European Union.
Governments aim to continue raising funds for several weeks or months, building on efforts by the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and wealthy individuals, and turn the page on the fractious and haphazard initial response around the world.
“In the space of just few hours we have collectively pledged 7.4 billion euros ($8.1 billion) for vaccine, diagnostics and treatment” against COVID-19, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said after chairing the online event.
“This will help kick-start unprecedented global cooperation,” she added.