Indonesia, as one of the leaders of the ASEAN in 2023, is pushing for the formation of a pandemic fund that is specifically designed for the Southeast Asian region. This pandemic fund is viewed as an instrument to better prepare and respond to future pandemics.
Febrio Kacaribu, the Head of Fiscal Policy Agency at the Ministry of Finance, explained that the pandemic fund is intended to prepare and respond to future pandemics more effectively. Indonesia believes that the pandemic that occurred in 2020 has prompted all countries worldwide to prepare for Pandemic Prevention and Response (PPR) measures.
The ASEAN version of the Pandemic Fund will be initiated by Sri Mulyani, the Minister of Finance, and Budi Gunadi Sadikin, the Minister of Health. Febrio hopes that the pandemic fund in the ASEAN will help the region to mitigate the spread of communicable diseases or outbreaks quickly.
“ASEAN needs to further reform in the face of communicable diseases like what happened before. No country can be healthy alone, so PPR needs to be developed,” said Febrio when he was met in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Monday, March 27, 2023.
Febrio explained that the formation of the fund in ASEAN will begin with an assessment of the necessary gap. Looking back at the experience of 2020, the response fund in the ASEAN for pandemic handling reached USD 15 million.
However, Indonesia is planning to increase pandemic funding specifically for ASEAN to over USD 1 billion. This money will be used to meet the needs of purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and other healthcare equipment that are required by ASEAN countries.
Previously, when Indonesia was the Presidency of the G20, it managed to persuade G20 member countries to form of it. At that time, Indonesia was a donor to the pandemic fund but also a beneficiary or a party that used the pandemic fund.
“At that time, it was used to purchase PPE and other emergency items, and the foundation has already been established. We will leverage the existing initiatives because pandemics cannot be predicted,” explained Febrio.
“Indonesia submitted a proposal to use those funds and it will be leveraged to around more than USD 1 billion by the World Bank, and we will share this with the ASEAN region,” Febrio said again.