International donors up funding to fight H5N1 avian flu
Assistance to Africa increased
8 December 2006, Bamako/Rome - The UN Food and Agriculture Organization today welcomed additional funding from the international donor community to continue the fight against the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus. Some US$475 million was pledged today at the end of a major three-day international donor conference on avian flu in Bamako, Mali.
Now is no time for complacency
Alexander Müller, FAO Assistant Director-General, told the conference that avian flu remains a “potent threat around the world – both to animals and humans.” Mr Müller urged donors to make Africa “a top priority for resources and technical assistance in the battle against avian influenza”, warning that ”one weak link can lead to a domino effect, undoing all the good that we have achieved so far. Now is no time for complacency.”
New funding would support long-term vision
According to Mr Müller, winning the battle against highly pathogenic avian influenza demands a long-term vision. Increased surveillance and rapid response to outbreaks are essential, and he welcomed any new funding that would increase and expand these activities, which also provide positive knock-on effects for efforts to control other livestock diseases.
Donors have strongly supported FAO’s work to help countries contain bird flu. So far, FAO has used US$10 million of its own funds and has received US$66 million from donors with agreements signed for another US$25 million. A further US$60 million is in the pipeline.
Media Relations, FAO
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