ASEAN Successfully Mobilizes $17.7 Million for Pandemic Fund, Paving the Way for Health Resilience


In a remarkable development, the Minister of Health for Indonesia, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, has proudly announced the triumphant culmination of the ASEAN Response Fund, dedicated to combating the ongoing pandemic. This commendable effort has seen an impressive sum of $17.7 million secured, equivalent to roughly Rp265.5 billion when considering an exchange rate of Rp15,000.

Minister Sadikin shared this pivotal update during the press conference held after the ASEAN Joint Finance and Health Ministers Meeting (AFHMM) convened at the illustrious Hotel Mulia in Jakarta on a significant Thursday, August 24, 2023.

In his statement, Minister Sadikin disclosed, “Yesterday, we were able to secure approximately $17.7 million for the ASEAN Funds for Covid-19.” This achievement underscores the collective commitment of ASEAN member states to address the pressing health concerns of the pandemic.

Of particular note is the judicious allocation of a portion of these collected funds for the acquisition of vital Covid-19 vaccines. Such a proactive approach towards securing vaccines echoes the region’s commitment to safeguarding public health and containing the virus’s spread.

In addition to this, there is a strategic vision for the remaining balance within the pandemic fund. These surplus resources are earmarked for future pandemic scenarios, thereby ensuring that ASEAN remains prepared and resilient in the face of health crises.

Minister Sadikin elaborated, “In the course of this meeting, our proposal is to expand the existing fund’s scope. This encompasses not only addressing the immediate Covid-19 concerns but also strategizing for any prospective pandemics that may arise in the future.” This forward-thinking approach underlines the region’s dedication to long-term health security.

In a separate but equally significant update, Febrio Kacaribu, the Head of the Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF) at the Ministry of Finance, shared valuable insights. He revealed that there remains approximately $10 million within the ASEAN Response Funds.

Currently, finance and health ministers are engaged in thoughtful deliberations about the optimal utilization of these funds. The objective is to ensure that any future allocations align effectively with global pandemic funds, thereby maximizing their impact without redundancy.

“We recognize the substantial balance remaining in the fund,” Febrio emphasized. “Our intent is to engage in thorough discussions with our counterparts from the ASEAN finance and health ministries.” This collaborative approach showcases the commitment to responsible financial stewardship and strategic planning within the region.

It is crucial to acknowledge the context within which this monumental fundraising effort has transpired. The need for dedicated pandemic funds within the ASEAN region arises from the recognition that healthcare systems in several member states are still in the process of development. Hence, this collective endeavor underscores the importance of regional solidarity and preparedness.

Furthermore, it’s noteworthy that the mechanism used for collecting these funds closely aligns with the Pandemic Fund initiated under the presidency of Indonesia during the G20 deliberations in 2022.

This synchronization with global efforts reinforces ASEAN’s commitment to international collaboration in addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by pandemics.

In summation, the mobilization of $17.7 million for the ASEAN Response Fund represents a significant milestone in regional health resilience. It not only demonstrates the collective determination of ASEAN nations but also underscores the prudent allocation of resources for both immediate needs and future contingencies.

This proactive approach to health security, along with collaborative discussions, is set to fortify the region’s capacity to respond effectively to health crises, both now and in the times ahead.