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Cablegate: Bamako Conference On Avian and Pandemic Influenza Reviews


DE RUEHBP #1423/01 3531008
P 191008Z DEC 06




DEPT FOR S/ES-O - Please pass to All Diplomatic and Consular Posts

E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Bamako Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza reviews
progress, but much more needs to be done; USG leads pledges totaling
almost $500 million

Ref: State 190899

1. Summary: Meeting in Bamako Dec. 6-8, international donors pledged
approximately $475.9 million in new assistance for the global fight
against avian and pandemic influenza (API), including $100 million
from the USG (the largest single pledge, followed by Canada and the
European Commission). The new pledges came very close to the
minimal requirements for a successful conference, but there are
signs that momentum in the fight against the disease - despite the
spread of outbreaks from 14 to 55 countries in 2006 alone -- is
beginning to slow. Malian President Toure in his welcoming address
praised the USG for its commitment to the fight against API. Major
effort may be required in the coming months to maintain worldwide
momentum, including a successful IPAPI conference in New Delhi next
year. Puzzlingly, the Indians were a no-show in Bamako.
Nevertheless, the IPAPI Core Group, meeting on the margins of the
conference outlined key areas of focus for the international effort
in the coming months and remained optimistic that New Delhi would
generate further funding. End Summary.

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New Money for Fighting API

2. The "Fourth International Conference on Avian and Pandemic
Influenza," a ministerial-level meeting organized by the Government
of Mali, the African Union, and the European Commission, took place
in Bamako December 6-8. Participants reviewed progress in
fulfilling previous funding commitments and donors pledged
additional funds for API.

3. For new pledges, the USG led the way with $100 million (with
more to follow later in FY-2007, pending congressional
authorization) above our pledge at the Beijing conference in January
2006. (Included in the pledge was the US contribution of $100,000
for conference expenses.) The tally of new assistance pledges at
Bamako was as follows (in millions USD):

Donor Bamako Pledge Beijing Pledge Total Pledge

USA $100.0 $334.0 $434.0
Canada 92.5 0 92.5
EC 88.2 124.4 212.6
Japan 67.0 155.0 222.0
Others 128.2 1260.8 1389.0

Total 475.9 1874.2 2350.1

A total of 14 countries made pledges at the conference. As a result
of the new promises, total pledges against API, starting with the
Beijing conference, have surpassed $2.3 billion.

4. The Bamako pledges approached the minimum yearly requirement
against API as described by UN System Influenza Coordinator (UNSIC)
Dr. David Nabarro. Just before the conference began, the U.S.
delegation chaired a meeting of the Core Group of the U.S.-initiated
International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza (IPAPI) to
coordinate objectives for the conference, including continuing
worldwide focus and action on the API threat and demonstrating that
donors, including the USG, are meeting funding commitments. Nabarro
stated the conference could be judged a success if donors pledged
$500-$700 million in assistance, thus meeting needs worldwide for
the next year, provided additional funds at a comparable level were
made available in the coming 2-3 years as well and a significant
portion of the funds pledged were not earmarked and were to benefit
Africa. Many of the donors stated that a significant portion of
their new pledges would go to Africa.

Conference Themes and Discussion

5. In his keynote address, Nabarro discussed the rapid expansion of
avian influenza outbreaks in recent years and noted that the
likelihood of the virus changing genetically and becoming
transmissible in humans in a sustained way is not known but
increases with the amount of virus circulating. He cited three
factors for successful API program implementation: political
leadership and successful alliances among shareholders; resources
and capacity to scale up implementation with effective management
systems; and long-term changes to reduce risks of animal and human
influenza, including social mobilization for sustained adoption of
new practices, and greater action on compensation.

6. An FAO representative made it clear that, although the avian
influenza situation is "looking up" due to large-scale activities of
governments and others and resources provided by donors, the battle
has not been won and must continue. The WHO representative,

almost $500 million

discussing planning for a possible pandemic, said that global
surveillance still has many "blind spots." The European CDC
representative said the EU needs to undertake two to three more
years of pandemic preparedness activities. In a well-received
session, attendees heard from the World Bank, UNICEF, and others
regarding new studies and strategies on compensation and culling of
poultry and on communications and public awareness activities. The
Indonesia representative described at length the Tangerang project
(done jointly with the U.S. and Singapore). In its intervention on
behalf of non-governmental organizations, the International
Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies stressed that
community-based organizations and civil society play a unique and
complementary role and have to work cooperatively to mitigate API
risks and challenges.

7. At the end of the conference, delegates approved by consensus
the Bamako Declaration (available at
www.avianinfluenzaconference4.org). The declaration noted that the
conference built on recommendations made during the previous
international API conferences; that list began with IPAPI in
Washington in October 2005. Consistent with the IPAPI Core
Principles, the declaration further strengthened international
commitment to transparency in reporting of influenza cases and to
immediate sharing of epidemiological data and samples with the World
Organization for Animal Health (OIE in French), the Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO), the OFFLU Network, and the World
Health Organization (WHO) to detect and characterize the nature and
evolution of any outbreaks as quickly as possible in order to
achieve early containment.

8. Special Representative John Lange participated in both press
conferences held during the three-day meeting.

Praise for U.S. Commitment

9. The U.S. fielded a strong interagency delegation led by the
Special Representative on Avian and Pandemic Influenza and including
USAID Assistant Administrator Dr. Kent Hill, USDA/APHIS
Administrator Dr. Ron DeHaven, and HHS Influenza International
Coordinator Dr. David Bell.

10. In his speech on Dec 6, Assistant Administrator Hill noted all
countries, including the U.S., benefited from international
cooperation against API. He described the USG's National Strategy,
introduced in November 2005, followed by our National Implementation
Plan. Hill also underscored USG international assistance, noting
that our $324 million in assistance disbursed so far has reached 73
countries, helping 53 of them to develop their national plans.

11. In his speech during the session on pandemic preparedness on
Dec. 7, Ambassador Lange noted global progress on API since
President Bush's announcement of the International Partnership at
UNGA in September 2005. He described increased USG assistance to
Africa for fighting avian influenza and for preparing for a possible
human pandemic. He also emphasized that USG activities, where
possible, emphasize support for strengthening animal and human
health capacity for the long term. (The remarks are posted on the
State Department website at www.State.gov/g/avianflu.)

12. On the conference's second day, Malian President Amadou Toumani
Toure praised USG leadership and engagement on API. Referring to
the inaugural IPAPI meeting in Washington, Toure said the USG has
demonstrated "determined engagement" on API since October 2005 and
noted that our delegation, with representatives from four USG
agencies, was another indication of strong U.S. commitment. In his
prepared remarks to the plenary, UNSIC's Nabarro also praised IPAPI
and affiliated initiatives for maintaining global political
coordination against API. Head of the African Union (AU)
delegation, Commissioner for Social Affairs Bience Gawanas, also
thanked the USG for its support against API and pleaded for it to

13. On the margins of the conference, USDel members met with heads
of delegation and others in a series of highly productive meetings
with WHO, FAO, OIE, the AU, the Government of Mali (Minister of
Livestock), the Government of Nigeria (Representatives of the
Ministries of Agriculture and Health) and others.

What Next?

14. Despite general satisfaction with the level of pledges and
universal acknowledgement of Africa's critical need (eight countries
so far with confirmed cases of avian influenza, but fears that the
disease could spread much more widely), there was a sense among some

almost $500 million

donors that momentum against the disease may be slowing. African
delegations, on the other hand, tended to praise the conference as
highly informative and very useful. Approximately 72 countries
attended the conference, but notably absent was India, the host for
the next big meeting -- IPAPI -- tentatively slated for October

15. Special Rep Lange again convened the IPAPI Core Group
representatives (including incoming EU President Germany) and
invited UN agencies, OIE, and the World Bank to a meeting
immediately following the conference to discuss key actions for
international focus in the next six months and to make tentative
decisions on the sequence of upcoming international meetings. Dr.
Nabarro proposed four areas that were refined by discussion that
warranted greatest attention, including: a. improving
implementation in Africa and the need for new financing mechanisms;
b. refining technical guidance that was delivered at the conference
on compensation and communications and developing new guidance on
animal vaccination; c. strengthening pandemic readiness globally and
developing ways to assist resource-poor nations; and d. further
intensifying coordinated action in countries that are particularly
challenging, such as Indonesia and possibly Egypt.

16. The Core Group also agreed to recommend to the Government of
India that the next high-level international meeting on API, which
the Bamako Declaration had reaffirmed is to be held in India, should
take place in October-December 2007. Given that timing and the
level of pledges made in Bamako, the India meeting will need to
include a pledging session. The World Bank agreed to update the
status of donor pledges as of June 30, 2007, and prepare a report
some months prior to the next pledging conference.

17. There also was consensus in the Core Group that a broad
technical meeting covering issues related to animal and human health
should take place between now and the New Delhi meeting. This
meeting may be hosted by a UN agency, possibly FAO, and its agenda
would be developed by UNSIC in coordination with others. The IPAPI
Core Group would convene in-person on the margins of that technical
meeting, in addition to the regular Core Group conference calls
approximately every other month.

18. Special Rep Lange has cleared this cable.


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