Office of the Press Secretary, The White House
Busan, Republic of Korea
November 19, 2005
Fact Sheet: United States Leadership On Avian Influenza
"If left unchallenged, this virus could become the first pandemic of the 21st century. We must not allow that to happen. Today I am announcing a new International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza...We invite all nations to participate. It is essential we work together, and as we do so, we will fulfill a moral duty to protect our citizens, and heal the sick, and comfort the afflicted." - President George W. Bush, September 14, 2005
TODAY'S PRESIDENTIAL ACTION:
APEC Initiative on Avian Influenza: President Bush came to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Busan, Korea, to encourage APEC Leaders to improve global readiness for the growing threat of avian influenza, an animal disease that has the potential to turn into a human influenza pandemic with devastating international health, economic, and social consequences.
APEC Leaders endorsed the U.S. co-sponsored initiative on "Preparing for and Mitigating an Influenza Pandemic" to ensure that the economies of the region-working individually and collectively-can better prepare for, prevent, and respond to a potential influenza pandemic. Leaders agreed to:
International, Regional, and Bilateral Leadership: President Bush recognizes that the threat of avian and pandemic influenza must be addressed comprehensively. The President has provided global leadership by launching the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza to generate high-level political commitment and cooperation; created momentum at the regional level by co-sponsoring an APEC Initiative that complements Partnership goals and principles; and is pursuing bilateral initiatives with partner nations. In addition, President Bush is leading by example by issuing a comprehensive preparedness and response strategy, the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, and by contributing funds and expertise to build capacity to fight avian influenza internationally.
International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza: The President in his September address to the UN announced this U.S. initiative to combat avian influenza and improve global readiness for a potential pandemic. The Partnership aims to elevate the issue on national agendas; coordinate efforts among donor and affected nations; mobilize and leverage resources; improve transparency and surveillance; develop preparedness plans; and build local capacity to identify, contain, and respond to a pandemic influenza. Senior Officials from 88 countries and nine international organizations attended an implementation meeting for the Partnership in Washington, D.C., on October 6 and 7, 2005. They agreed on three priority areas for further action: building stockpiles of drugs and supplies; speeding vaccine development and distribution; and implementing rapid response and containment measures.
U.S. Leadership in Building Capacity: The President on
International Cooperation and Planning: Senior Bush Administration officials from the Departments of Health and Human Services, State, Agriculture, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, accompanied by representatives of key international organizations, traveled to Southeast Asia in October to promote a concerted, coordinated, and effective response to the international challenge of combating avian influenza. They underscored the U.S. commitment to engage on surveillance and prevention; preparedness, planning and outreach; and response and containment measures.
Bilateral Initiatives: Under the leadership of President Bush, the United States is actively pursuing opportunities to collaborate with other countries in the fight against avian influenza, most recently reaching agreement with Indonesia and Singapore. The United States will partner with Singapore and Indonesia to create a model project to control avian influenza in Indonesia. The United States and China are also developing an initiative to strengthen bilateral cooperation on this important issue.