A new avian flu trust fund arrangement, called the Avian and Human Influenza (AHI) Facility, has been agreed on by the European Commission (EC) and the World Bank. The EC will contribute €46 million to the new multi-donor financing mechanism administered by the Bank, delivering the funds that it pledged at the Beijing Conference.
The EC contribution will finance grants to Central Asia, East and South Asia, Eastern Europe and Mediterranean Littoral, with the aim of increasing human influenza pandemic preparedness, and preventing or progressively controlling avian influenza within these regions.
At the global level, the AHI Facility will help countries to prepare and implement integrated country action plans. The objective is to reduce the social and economic impact of avian influenza and to minimize the possibility of a human flu pandemic in developing countries with insufficient domestic resources and capacity to combat the disease.
This commitment by the EC represents more than 80% of the total commitment to date by donors to the Facility. A formal signing of the underlying agreement between the Commission and the Bank is expected to take place prior to the inaugural meeting of the Facility’s Advisory Board in Vienna on June 8th, to be co-chaired by the parties to this agreement.
“We are extremely gratified that the Commission has once again taken the lead â€¦ to help in the preparation of country-based plans designed to protect vulnerable populations against this real threat,” said James Adams, Vice President for Operations and Country Services at the World Bank.
Koos Richelle, Director-General of the European Commission’s EuropeAid Cooperation Office announced, “By signing this agreement with the World Bank, the European Commission is delivering the funds that it pledged at the Beijing Conference to combat avian influenza in Asia, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Neighbourhood. By working together with the Bank and other donors. I believe that we can maximise the impact of EC funds on an issue that is of vital importance to developing countries.”