13 February 2014
Global Health Security Agenda partnership meeting
Thank you for the invitation to participate in the launch of the Global Health Security Agenda.
As you all know, FAO’s mandate is to eradicate hunger and malnutrition and to promote sustainable agricultural and rural development.
Food safety and animal health cut across these issues and are a relevant part of FAO’s technical work.
We have seen the human and financial cost of dealing with pandemic outbreaks in the past and how fast animal diseases can spread.
Whether you live in a farm in the area where an animal disease outbreak started or in a city across the globe, the potential impact exists and needs to be properly addressed.
The H5N1 Avian Influenza outbreak that started in 2003 and still circulates in some countries has cost over 20 billion dollars; has caused the death of hundreds of millions of poultry deaths; and has cost the lives of hundreds of people.
FAO and funding partners have invested over 380 million dollars since 2004 in attempts to better control it.
We have increased our efforts to attack the problems as soon as possible, through robust early warning mechanisms.
That means working to prevent outbreaks, detect threats at an early stage, and to respond rapidly and effectively when needed. This is resilience.
These are the focus areas of the Global Health Security agenda, which also recognizes the importance of partnerships. They are central elements to the success of our common efforts.
Ladies and gentlemen,
FAO works along the entire food chain to contribute to global health security, from the land to our hands.
Together with W-H-O, we provide the secretariat to the Codex Alimentarius Commission that establishes food standards and other recommendations used in international trade and that provide guidance to governments.
Through the FAO Emergency Prevention System (EMPRES), FAO, W-H-O and O-I-E provide on-ground assessments, early response, coordination and capacity building to control health threats.
FAO is committed to build global capacity to tackle endemic animal diseases at their source, including the Rift Valley fever, foot-and-mouth disease, or emerging diseases such as H7N9 influenza.
We are also committed to addressing the complex challenge and growing biological threat of anti-microbial resistance.
These actions are examples of the principles of One Health, the multi-disciplinary approach to optimal health for people, animals and the environment.
These actions will support and will also benefit from the implementation of the Global Health Security agenda.
To end, I would like to reaffirm that FAO is committed to building and maintaining global capacity to tackle endemic animal diseases at their source. That is why we welcome this initiative.
Thank you for your attention.