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  European Commission Grants to Avian Flu Facility Exceed €70 Million  
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In Brussels: Christiane Hohmann +32-2-299-1196Christiane.hohmann@ec.europa.euIn Washington: Phil Hay +1-202-473-1796(+1-202-409-2909 – cell)Phay@worldbank.orgGeetanjali S. Chopra +1-202-473-0343Gchopra@worldbank.org NEW DELHI, December 6, 2007 – The European Commission and the World Bank today signed an agreement under which the Commission increased its support to the Avian and Human Influenza Facility by €23.5 million. This takes total support provided by the Commission to €70.93 million—about US$103.3 million at current exchange rates. The Avian and Human Influenza (AHI) Facility is a multidonor financing mechanism administered by the World Bank.  The €23.5 million additional contribution is the third contribution by the Commission to the Facility since June 2006, when the Facility was launched. The Commission has been the leading Facility donor, while eight other donors (Australia, China, Estonia, Iceland, Korea, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom) have also made valuable contributions to the Facility. This latest contribution by the Commission will finance grants to countries in East and South Asia, to increase their human influenza pandemic preparedness, and prevent or control avian influenza in animals. Before the latest EC contribution, both regions together were facing a significant budget shortfall in their avian flu control programs of US$300—US$500 million.  “This EC contribution is significant because grant funding is urgently needed in Asia where many countries are on the frontlines in the fight against this disease.” said Jeffrey S. Gutman, Vice President for Operations Policy and Country Services who leads the avian and human influenza task force at the World Bank. Erich-Wilhelm Muller, Director for Asia of the European Commission's EuropeAid Cooperation Office announced, "This extra funding underlines the European Commission's commitment to helping countries in need to strengthen their veterinary and public health services.  This will help to combat not only avian influenza, but also other emerging diseases." At the global level, the AHI Facility helps developing countries with insufficient financing and capacity prepare and carry out integrated country action plans in a total of six regions.  These action plans improve animal health and human health systems with the goal of controlling avian influenza and preparing for a human flu pandemic and similar public health emergencies.  Grants from the Facility also help reduce the social and economic impacts on the poor, especially on farmers due to the culling of poultry, which is necessary to combat the disease. ### For more information, see www.worldbank.org/avianflu  

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