Cablegate: Demarche Request: Canada's Contribution to The


DE RUEHC #5910 2911727
P 181718Z OCT 07




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. This is an action request. See paragraph 6.

2. SUMMARY. In 2006, there were serious setbacks in the
global fight to end polio with increased numbers of polio
cases in Nigeria and India, continuing challenges in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, and imported cases appearing in
countries previously declared polio-free. There is a critical
$60 million funding gap for 2007 and $355 million for 2008
for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). The
Government of Canada is at a key decision point regarding its
contributions to GPEI. This action request is to encourage
Canada to meet its Gleneagles commitment for contributions to
global polio eradication. Please slug responses to OES/IHB's
(Tierra Copeland and Patricia Murphy). End Summary

3. BACKGROUND: Substantial progress has been made since the
launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in
1988, when polio was endemic in more than 125 countries,
paralyzing 350,000 children each year. The GPEI partnership
includes the World Health Organization (WHO), the United
Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Rotary International, and
U.S. Government agencies (USAID and the Department of Health
and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention HHS/CDC). The U.S. Government has been the
leading financial donor to the effort providing over $1.3
billion since 1988 and representing nearly thirty percent of
global contributions.

4. Canada is the fourth largest donor to the Polio
Eradication Initiative (US $182 million contributed since
1988). Canada was the first nation to place polio eradication
on the G8 agenda, doing so in 2002 at Gleneagles in the
context of the G8 Africa Action Plan. Canada contributed a
total of USD $102.9 million during the 2003-2005 period but
has pledged significantly less for the 2006-2008 period (USD
$45.6 million). Canada has a strong interest in Afghanistan
and has doubled its commitments of aid to Africa. These
regions are very important to polio eradication. The
Government of Canada is at a key decision point regarding is
contribution to GPEI.

5. As noted by U/S Dobriansky in a policy speech on polio
delivered October 10, 2006, significant progress has been
made globally; still, recent setbacks have put eradication
efforts at risk. In 2006, 1,998 people were paralyzed by
polio and now only four countries (Afghanistan, India,
Nigeria, and Pakistan) still suffer from endemic polio
transmission. Polio eradication is feasible, as demonstrated
already in many countries around the world. However, donor
enthusiasm and financial contributions are waning, even in
the face of re-emerging infections and increased risk for
polio to regain a global foothold. Challenges facing the
polio eradication effort include:

-- There is a major global funding gap of $60 million needed
for GPEI to support vaccination campaigns and emergency
operations in outbreak areas for the remainder of 2007. As a
result, the WHO anticipates that polio vaccination programs
might be scaled back due to lack of financial resources. In
addition, it is estimated that there is a shortfall of
pledges of, at least, $355 million for eradication activities
projected for 2008.

-- During the 2004-2005 period, polio spread from Northern
Nigeria and India to 21 previously polio-free countries
across the Middle East and as far east as Indonesia.

-- Spread of polio has increased in 2006, with twice as many
polio cases in five states in Northern Nigeria, and five
times as many cases in India compared to the same period in

-- The remaining areas and populations of polio infections
and transmission are among the poorest of the poor and are
the most difficult to reach.

-- Socio-political issues have complicated vaccination
efforts. For example, in the critical areas of India and
Nigeria, there is great distrust of government, government
programs, and resistance to vaccination, particularly among
Muslim communities.

-- Political will, on the part of the governments of
Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan, is being severely
tested to follow through on commitments to polio eradication
in their respective countries.

6. ACTION: Embassy is requested to urge senior officials in
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, and
Privy Council Office that Canada consider increasing its
support for the WHO and UNICEF-led Global Polio Eradication
Initiative, including an additional pledge for 2008-2009.
Embassy may draw on the following talking points:
Begin Talking Points

-- The United States is very concerned that given the
continued endemic transmission of polio in Nigeria, India,
Afghanistan, and Pakistan, a threat remains for importations
to polio-free countries.

-- The United States acknowledges Canada's strong leadership
in placing global polio eradication on the G8 agenda at
Gleneagles. We appreciate Canada's exemplary past
contributions to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative
(GPEI). There is an urgent $60 million funding gap for the
remainder of 2007 and $355 million for 2008 for GPEI. We
urge Canada to maintain its leadership by at least
maintaining past levels of financial support to GPEI.

-- The United States has given generously -- $1.3 billion
since 1988 and $132 million in 2007 alone. We are urging out
partners to help close the funding gap.

End Talking Points

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