23 November 2005
United States Praises Global Collaboration on Bird Flu
Avian influenza considered at U.N. agriculture meeting in Rome
The U.S. delegation to a conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) November 23 expressed the world’s mutual concern about the broad spread of avian influenza and the possibility that a human influenza pandemic could emerge from the animal disease.
The U.S. delegates praised the work done by international organizations in Asia to stamp out bird flu, calling the FAO’s work, “solid and extensive.” The delegation also noted the United States' efforts to increase its work with international partners.
Responding to earlier entreaties from FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf about the need for increased funding to escalate anti-pandemic efforts, the delegation said the United States has contributed $38 million to the cause in 2005. President Bush has asked the Congress to consider a $251 million investment in international prevention in the year ahead.
For additional information about the FAO conference, see related article.
Following is the delegation’s statement:
United States Delegation
FAO Conference, 33rd Session
November 19-26, 2005
[Side event on Avian Influenza
Delivered November 23, 2005]
FAO and its collaborating partners, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Office International des Epizooties (OIE, or World Organization for Animal Health), have been actively involved in a campaign to contain and stamp out Avian Influenza (AI) in Asia. The three agencies took collaborative immediate action at the onset of the outbreaks. Among their many efforts, joint guidelines and recommendations were issued on the control of AI, and a global framework was launched [FAO/OIE Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Trans-boundary Animal Diseases (GF-TADs)].
Since June 2005, the USG has led one high level and several technical level missions to Southeast Asia to review the situation on the ground and raise political awareness with affected country governments. During a joint mission by USAID/HHS/USDA in July, the USG team found FAO’s work in the field to be solid and extensive. As a result, USAID granted the first tranche of $6 million to FAO to strengthen community-based early warning and reaction to outbreaks in the five endemic countries of Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, PRC and Viet Nam.
The United States shares the same concern over the growing threat this virus poses to humans and animals as well as the significant economic and social impacts it has made globally. We are encouraged to hear that FAO is working collaboratively with other competent agencies to control and stamp out the disease at its animal source supporting efforts to prevent a possible human pandemic. We recognize the important groundwork already laid by the FAO, WHO and OIE -- each with their own special comparative advantage -- and we are working in greater partnership with them.
This year, the United States provided $38 million in assistance: $25 million to control the spread of bird flu in Southeast Asia, including $6 million to FAO to strengthen community-based early warning and reaction to outbreaks; and the remaining $13 million in technical assistance and grants to affected countries and WHO.
In response to Director General Diouf’s plea to double efforts:
The U.S. is more than doubling its assistance. Two weeks ago, President Bush proposed a substantial emergency funding request for fiscal year 2006 that includes $251 million for a continued international response to contain and detect outbreaks before they spread around the world.
Efforts to prevent a pandemic require coordinated action by all sectors of government and society, which is why President Bush launched the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza (IPAPI) at the UN General Assembly in September. IPAPI aims to elevate the issue on national agendas, coordinating efforts between donor and affected nations. The first IPAPI Senior Officials Meeting in early October successfully brought together 96 nations and international organizations, affirming their commitment to this endeavor. And, as Director General Diouf duly noted that partnerships play a critical role, we thank all of our partners for this dedication and look forward to continued cooperation to tackle this global threat.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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