But in a sign of the fractured state of global health diplomacy, the event was not addressed by India, Russia or the US. After a weekend of persuasion, China was represented by its ambassador to the EU. A separate Covid-19 summit was staged earlier in the day and addressed by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, and other world leaders including the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.
The EU-convened virtual summit was addressed in person by the leaders of France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Japan, Jordan, Norway, Israel, South Africa and the EU, and took the form of a pledging marathon. But the US state department released a statement welcoming what it described as “the pledging conference in Europe”, even though the fundraising summit had always been envisaged as a global, rather than strictly European effort.