European Commissioner for Health and Consumer
International Ministerial Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic
On behalf of the European Commission and my colleagues, Commissioners Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Louis Michel, I am pleased to confirm that the European Commission is pledging 80 million EURO to support strategic actions outside the European Union aimed at controlling avian influenza and preparing for a possible human influenza pandemic The pledged contribution of the European Commission will be entirely in grants.
In addition, the European Commission is committing 20 million EURO for research projects related to avian and human influenza.
This brings the total pledge of the European Commission to 100 million EURO or approximately 122 million US Dollars
The European Commission’s external response will be deployed as follows:
In Asia, where Avian Influenza is most rampant, the priority of the Commission will be to channel assistance to support implementation of integrated response plans in low income developing countries in South and South East Asia that are endemic, newly infected or at high risk. This may include action and coordination at the regional level, including measures implemented by UN agencies, deemed to support initiatives in these countries. The Commission is ready to make available for this purpose 30 million EURO under its 2006 co-operation budget for Asia,
In order to allow deployment of EC resources to where needs and financing gaps are highest and action is swift, efficient and equitable, EC’s pledge towards Asia is made as a “regional multi-country unrestricted pledge”.
Furthermore, to promote optimisation, harmonisation and aid effectiveness of external financing flows in the region, the Commission favours channelling its monies, wherever feasible, through a multi-donor trust fund.
For Central Asia, the Commission pledges 5.0 million EURO. The Commission is particularly keen to provide strategic support to strengthen veterinary and health service systems. In the longer term, EC assistance would also be available to assist countries with reforming their animal husbandry sectors as well as with promoting behavioural changes that would reduce the risk of animal diseases and related health threats.
The same amount of 5.0 million EURO is being pledged for EU’s Eastern European neighbouring countries.
For our neighbours in North Africa and the Middle East, the Commission is mobilising 10 million EURO.
As far as Africa Pacific and Caribbean countries are concerned, the Commission has earmarked 30 million EURO out of the European Development Fund for the period 2006-2007. These funds will be channelled directly. I want to draw your attention to the fact that, according to the Cotonou Agreement, the ACP countries will need to approve the allocation proposed by the Commission.
Beyond the actual crisis caused by the H5N1 Avian Influenza virus, the European Commission considers that a more strategic, medium to long-term multi-sectoral approach, embedded in nationally owned strategies, is vital to ensure an effective and sustainable reduction of the risk of Avian Influenza, as well as of other animal diseases-related health threats.
Action and success at country level will not be sufficient. Regional and global coordination will remain essential as well. In that respect, allow me to applaud the coordination efforts made by various regions and regional organisations of the world, as well as the support provided by the UN system.
To conclude, I would like to reiterate an important point made by the EU Presidency. Without our continued, joint and strategic efforts it is unlikely that we will succeed in preventing and eliminating the health, security, trade and financial threats emanating from Avian Influenza and other animal diseases at global level. This will require adequate resources, particularly in developing countries and regions where challenges may be large and resources insufficient. This is the rationale underpinning the pledge of the European Commission