WASHINGTON -- At the International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza in Beijing next week, the European Commission will pledge its external response to the threat of avian flu, including a grant of up to euro 80 million to combat the spread of the virus in developing countries, particularly in Asia. The conference's aim is to mobilize and co-ordinate the financial support from donors to boost the response to avian influenza and potential flu pandemic at the national, regional and global level. The lion's share of the pledged monies will support integrated national response strategies in third countries in addition to the considerable efforts these countries themselves are making.
The Commission's contribution, coming from the external relations budgets and the European Development Fund, will be announced on behalf of the Commission by Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner, Markos Kyprianou. This will add to contributions provided by EU member states, and will feed into the total pledged by all donors attending the conference. The meeting will gather more than 90 countries, as well as 25 organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Welcoming this joint international effort, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, commissioner for external relations and neighborhood policy, said, "Next week's conference represents a key step in the global response to the spread of avian flu. I am sure that the significant funds that the Commission is providing will give crucial support to the most needy countries in
of a pandemic."
Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel said, "We must take a global approach to this pandemic and we must anticipate and not just react to events. Hence, the European Commission stands ready to support all developing countries fight this potential threat. We will also have a special focus in
Kyprianou said, "The EU puts its money where its mouth is. The Commission will provide a significant grant in addition to pledges from individual member states. We now have to work with the countries most affected by the avian influenza outbreak to increase surveillance, foster consistency between the veterinary and public health sides, boost contingency planning, and ensure co-ordination and exchange of information. That is the way to ultimately defeat this avian epidemic and prevent it from turning into a human
influenza pandemic of a new and potentially devastating kind."
The International Pledging Conference is co-sponsored by the government of the People's Republic of
Participants at the conference are expected to announce their financial pledges in support to affected countries and countries at risk and agree on a "Beijing Declaration" that will spell out the key principles for a long-term international partnership to combat the Avian Influenza.
The Commission's euro 80 million contribution will be made up of euro 50 million from the Commission's 2006 External Relations budget and euro 30 million from the European Development Fund. The euro 30 million remains subject to approval of Asian,
Source: Delegation of the European Commission to the