The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is backing the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization's (FAO) efforts to combat pandemic animal disease threats in Asia, Africa and the Middle East with an additional $87 million in funding covering the 2015-19 period.
USAID and FAO have worked in partnership on controlling animal diseases and managing related human health threats for over a decade. USAID financial backing for this work now amounts to $320 million since 2004.
The new funds will support monitoring and surveillance, epidemiological studies, prevention and control activities as well as improving veterinary capacities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and promoting links between animal health specialists and the public health sector.
FAO director-general Jose Graziano da Silva thanked the U.S. for its support and longstanding partnership. "This shows how important transboundary diseases are for FAO and the U.N. system, and how much more important they will be in in the future if we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals," he said. "Millions of people rely on livestock for survival, income and nutrition, and their livelihoods must be protected."
Dennis Carroll, director of global health security and development with the USAID Bureau for Global Health, said, "We are pleased by what our partnership with FAO for emerging pandemic threats has so far achieved, and the important contribution FAO's work is making to the U.S. Global Health Security Agenda program to address threats posed by the natural emergence of new diseases and the intentional and/or accidental release of dangerous pathogens. The latest USAID contribution of $87 million to FAO will further strengthen the program and partnership between our two organizations, and build upon the good work already underway in the second phase of the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats program (EPT-2). Nearly $50 million of this contribution will support the global fight against the Ebola virus by building global capacity to prevent, detect and respond to future outbreaks and prevent them from becoming epidemics."