European Commissioner for Health and Consumer
International Ministerial Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic
At the Partners’ Meeting on Avian Influenza and Human Pandemic Influenza held in Geneva last November, countries committed to develop integrated national strategies to provide a more robust basis for needs assessment and action. National plans are the true building blocks of our global strategy in combating the disease at its source.
More and more countries have now developed integrated national plans building on the protocols developed by FAO, OiE and WHO. Using the financing gap methodology proposed by the World Bank and cross-checked by data compiled at country and global level, the requirements of currently affected countries and countries at risk have now been estimated at 1.2 billion US Dollars, including finance required for supportive action at the regional and global levels.
Given the nature of the cross-border threat posed by avian and human pandemic influenza, there is a clear preference of developing countries that support from the international community will be provided in grants rather than in loans.
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 for several reasons:
We have covered the estimated overall financing gap of 1.2 billion US Dollars in currently infected countries and countries at risk for the next 2 to 3 years as well as for supportive regional and global action.
Nearly 1 billion US Dollars has been pledged in grants. I am pleased to note the significant amount of grants pledged in support of low-income countries, particularly in South East Asia where the disease is endemic, as well as in other regions at risk, especially Africa. For the next three years, this will bring immediate vital budget relief to those countries currently in need.
The international community has also fully responded to the call for grants made by FAO, OiE and WHO. This will ensure that these agencies will be in a position to support countries and fulfil their mandates on avian and pandemic influenza at global and regional levels during the coming 3 years.
Almost 900 million US dollars of loans is available to allow countries to address both the short term and longer term sector reform agenda. We welcome this important contribution from Multilateral Development Banks, particularly from the World Bank and the Asian and African Development Banks.
Last but not least, the total amount of 1.9 billion US dollars provides flexibility to support other countries which may experience outbreaks as the disease continues to spread.
Optimising the allocation and utilisation of such a magnitude of grants and loans will require regular and transparent joint monitoring and reporting of commitments and actions, as well as of results and impacts.
Besides financial pledges made this afternoon in support of national, regional and global needs to fight the spread of avian flu, I also want to underline the significance of non-financial pledges by so many governments, organisations and by civil society in general.
This assistance will come on top of the financial assistance and will particularly be targeted on providing technical assistance, scientific expertise, training and exchange programs of scientists, as well as research in key areas.
Most importantly, I want to pay tribute to the commitment of beneficiary countries to mobilise their own technical and financial resources to address Avian Influenza and prepare for a possible Human Influenza Pandemic.
I would like to formally ask them to pursue their efforts in organising, in their respective countries and after Beijing, a donors’ meeting using their existing coordination frameworks. These important meetings at country level will allow donors and technical agencies to align their support to the countries’ integrated, national action plans.
In concluding today’s pledging session, allow me to share with you the following three last remarks:
Donor commitment is strong. After a year of unprecedented disasters and humanitarian crises such as Tsunami and the Pakistan Earthquake, the international donor community has again been able to make a substantial additional effort. I want to pay tribute to the pledges made by the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, the New EU Member States as well as of some South East Asian countries. It clearly demonstrates world-wide solidarity and seals our international partnership.
Harmonising donor support and pooling resources to align with country owned strategies is the most effective way to achieve our goals.
Last but not least, over the last year, FAO, WHO, OiE, the UN system and the World Bank have been engaging in ever closer co-ordination, taking on board more and more bilateral and multi-lateral regional players. I am pleased that the European Commission has been able to contribute meaningfully to this process.
I thank you for your attention.