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22 September 2005

International Partnership To Focus on Potential Bird Flu Pandemic

State Department fact sheet explains partnership announced at United Nations

The U.S. State Department issued a fact sheet September 22 explaining a recently announced international partnership that will focus more attention on bird flu in an attempt to prevent the viral disease that began among poultry populations in Asia from escalating into a global flu pandemic among humans.

See “U.S. Launches International Partnership To Fight Bird Flu,” for details on this September 16 announcement.

For ongoing coverage of U.S. and international efforts to combat avian influenza, see Bird Flu.

The text of the fact sheet follows:

(begin fact sheet)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
September 22, 2005

FACT SHEET

U.S. Launches International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza

President Bush announced the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza in his remarks to the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on September 14, 2005, in New York.  On September 15, 2005, Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Dr. Paula Dobriansky was joined by the Director General of the World Health Organization Dr. Lee Jong-wook, Executive Director of UNICEF Ann Veneman, and senior representatives from several participating countries at a press briefing in New York to describe further the worldwide Partnership.

The Partnership brings together key nations and international organizations to improve global readiness by:

-- elevating the issue on national agendas;

-- coordinating efforts among donor and affected nations;

-- mobilizing and leveraging resources;

-- increasing transparency in disease reporting and surveillance; and

-- building capacity to identify, contain and respond to a pandemic influenza.

All partners have endorsed a core set of principles focused on enhancing preparedness, prevention, response and containment activities.  These principles, as outlined in the attached Statement of Core Principles, form the foundation for implementation actions that will follow the launch.

The Partnership will build on and support ongoing domestic, bilateral, and multilateral avian and pandemic influenza programs.  Over the past year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has provided more than $5.5 million in technical assistance and grants to affected countries in Southeast Asia and the World Health Organization for influenza pandemic preparedness.  Through its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this ongoing emergency support includes providing both experts and laboratory reagents.  The Partnership seeks to expand these efforts and address areas identified as gaps.

On May 11, 2005, the President signed an emergency appropriations bill which contained $25 million to prevent and control the spread of avian influenza.  The Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are implementing plans to deploy the supplemental funding in Southeast Asia.  The Administration will work with Congress to address needs pertaining to the implementation of key actions of the Partnership.

Later this month, senior officials from partner nations will convene to establish implementation committees, and advance specific actions in support of the Partnership's core principles.

International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza

Statement of Core Principles

The International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza is committed to protecting human and animal health as well as mitigating the global socioeconomic and security consequences of an influenza pandemic.  The partnership seeks to work with all concerned states to limit the spread of H5N1 avian flu and any other highly pathogenic influenza strain by taking all necessary steps to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the growing threat.

Partners are concerned about the potential for large-scale outbreaks.  As such, participants are committed to the following principles to establish a more coordinated and effective basis for limiting the social, economic and health impacts of avian and pandemic influenza, consistent with national legal authorities and relevant international law and frameworks.

Noting that enhanced global cooperation on avian and pandemic influenza will provide a template for global cooperation to address other types of health emergencies, we join together in our commitment to:

1. International cooperation to protect the lives and health of our people;

2. Timely and sustained high-level global political leadership to combat avian and pandemic influenza;

3. Transparency in reporting of influenza cases in humans and in animals caused by strains that have pandemic potential, to increase understanding, preparedness and, especially to ensure rapid and timely response to potential outbreaks;

4. Immediate sharing of epidemiological data and samples with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the international community to detect and characterize the nature and evolution of any outbreaks as quickly as possible, by utilizing, where appropriate, existing networks and mechanisms

5. Rapid reaction to address the first signs of accelerated transmission of H5N1 and other highly pathogenic influenza strains so that appropriate international and national resources can be brought to bear;

6. Prevent and contain an incipient epidemic through capacity building and in-country collaboration with international partners;

7. Work in a manner complementary to and supportive of expanded cooperation with and appropriate support of key multilateral organizations (WHO, Food and Agriculture Organization, World Organization for Animal Health);

8. Timely coordination of bilateral and multilateral resource allocations; dedication of domestic resources (human and financial); improvements in public awareness; and development of economic and trade contingency plans;

9. Increased coordination and harmonization of preparedness, prevention, response and containment activities among nations, complementing domestic and regional preparedness initiatives and encouraging where appropriate the development of strategic regional initiatives;

10. Actions based on the best available science.

(end fact sheet)