Solomon Islands will go down the history as one of the small yet the first island nation to be selected onto the global governing board of a newly established Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (PPR).
The FIF for PPR was officially established and launched by the FIF governing board at its inaugural meeting on the 8th – 9th September 2022.
Its establishment followed lessons drawn from COVID-19 pandemic that showed urgent need for collective action to augment the existing global health security financing system and to mobilize additional resources to build health systems and strengthen capacity for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.
The Governing Board comprises decision-making members (voting members) which the Solomon Islands is part of, and non- decision-making members or non-voting members and observers.
Representation in the board includes prominent government officials representing the European Commission, United States, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Indonesia, Japan, Canada amongst others as sovereign contributors and the Solomon Islands, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Guyana etc. as sovereign co-investors and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as Philanthropic contributor. Observers include representations from international civil society groups and non-government organizations.
The board is responsible to set the overall work program and make funding decisions.
Over US$1.4 billion in financial commitments have already been announced and more are expected in the coming months. So far, commitments have been made by Australia, Canada, China, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Welcome Trust.
Solomon Islands will be represented on the Governing board by the Permanent Secretaries of Finance and Treasury Mr. Dentana McKinnie as primary representative with Mrs. Pauline McNeil Health Permanent Secretary as the alternate representative.
This followed subsequent discussions between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance, where it was agreed and recommended by both ministries through concurrence by the respective ministers that the two permanent secretaries are to represent the country on the board.
Both Permanent Secretaries acknowledged their appointments to the board and the endorsements from their ministers. To be selected to the FIF PPR Governing Board at the Global level, is a huge recognition for the country and one that does not come too easy.
Both Permanent Secretaries further assured of their commitment and dedication to serve well in the board representing Solomon Islands but also all other island nations with similar geographies, limitations, challenges etc in their health systems and capacity and capabilities to respond to health pandemics in their two years appointment with the board.