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The International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza Is Successfully Held in Beijing

The International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza was successfully held in Beijing from January 17 to 18, 2006. The conference was co-hosted by the Chinese Government, the European Commission and the World Bank. The theme of the conference is to raise funds for international cooperation in the prevention and control of avian and human influenza. Wen Jiabao, Premier of China's State Council attended the opening ceremony and delivered an importance speech. Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Safety, Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank President, and Lee Jong-wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) addressed the opening ceremony. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations and Paul Wolfowitz, World Bank President, sent out their video messages to the conference.

The conference is the largest international conference at the highest level in the area of avian influenza prevention and control, therefore attracting great attention. Nearly 700 delegates from over 100 countries and 20 international organizations attended the conference, including more than 70 minister-level representatives. Representatives on the Chinese side include Du Qinglin, Minister of China's Ministry of Agriculture, Gao Qiang, Minister of China's Ministry of Health, Dai Bingguo, Vice Minister of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Li Changjiang, Director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), Li Yong, Vice Minister of China's Ministry of Finance, York Chow, Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), and Koi Kuok Ieng, Director of the Department of Health of Macau SAR.

The conference reviewed a series of subjects including the global situation, financing needs and mechanisms for the prevention and control of avian and human influenza. The conference considered that in the context of globalization, avian influenza is not only an issue concerning public health, but also an issue affecting economic and social development of some countries, even global and regional security and stability. Strengthening cooperation in the prevention and control of avian and human influenza is a common task for the international community and complies with the common interest of all parties.

The conference passed Beijing Declaration. The outcome document pledges conquering avian influenza by promoting and formulating comprehensive prevention and control strategies at the highest level, mobilizing all resources, and taking short-, middle- and long-term measures; supports the international community in establishing long-term strategic partnership, providing financial and technical support to concerned countries and regions, and strengthening infrastructure development for animal and public health; promises to share information in an open, efficient, and transparent manner, develop, spread and adopt best practices in the monitoring, prevention and control of avian influenza in compliance with rules of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization; and pledges increasing transparency in the R&D of high-quality vaccine and antivirus drugs so as to meet global needs.

The conference also adopted the report titled Avian and Human Influenza: Multi-donor Financing Framework, which identifies the mechanisms for the management, utilization, and coordination of funds to improve the utilization of funds. With the concerted efforts of all sides, the conference raised USD 1.9 billion, among which the European Commission pledged USD 121,600,000, the European Union pledged USD 134,900,000, the Asian Development Bank pledged USD 468,000,000, the United States pledged USD 334,000,000 and Japan pledged USD 155,000,000. Australia, France, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Thailand all participated in the donation. The conference listed China as one of the 6 major recipients of the donation.

The participants spoke highly of the efforts made by China for hosting the conference and praised China for the important role it played in international cooperation in the prevention and control of avian and human influenza. They expressed the willingness to strengthen cooperation with China and implement the outcome of the conference. They commented positively on the remarks delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao and considered that his remarks as an indication that the Chinese government attaches great importance to international cooperation in this field and holds an active and responsible attitude to this issue.

The conference achieved its expected goals and therefore was a success.

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