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Brussels, 18 January 2006

Avian influenza: expectations surpassed as international community pledges USD 1.9 bn in Beijing

The international community has pledged a total amount of $1.9 billion dollars to fight avian influenza and prepare for a possible human influenza pandemic, EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou announced today in his concluding speech at the International Ministerial Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza in Beijing, China. The European Commission co-sponsored the conference with the government of the People’s Republic of China and the World Bank. On behalf of the European Commission and in particular Commissioners Ferrero-Waldner, Michel and Potocnik, Commissioner Kyprianou pledged €80 million ($100 m) in aid grants from the Commission’s External Relations budget and the European Development Fund and committed €20 million in research funds for avian influenza from EU’s 6th Research Framework Programme.

Commissioner Kyprianou said: “Today at the conclusion of the Beijing International Pledging Conference, I am glad to announce that the total amount pledged by the International Community amounts to 1.9 billion US Dollars. This is a significant achievement we all can be proud of. We have surpassed expectations by considerably exceeding the estimated overall financing gap of around $1.2 billion, 1 billion of which is in grants. For its part, the European Commission has played a central role both as a co-host of this conference, and with a total pledge of €100 million ($122 million). Taken together with the €114 million ($140 m) pledged by the EU Member States, the EU has in total pledged around €214 million ($260 m).”

Of the €80 million pledged by the European Commission to third countries, €30 million is destined for Asia, €5 million for Central Asia, €5 million for the EU’s Eastern European neighbouring countries, €10 million for North Africa and the Middle East, and €30 million is earmarked for the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries, subject to approval by the ACP countries. With the €20 million of research funds earmarked from the 6th Research Framework Programme, this brings the total European Commission pledge to €100 million. Separately, the European Commission is preparing to bring forward urgently €4 million in pre-accession aid to Turkey foreseen for 2007 to tackle avian influenza.

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