An "APEC Symposium in Response to Outbreaks of Avian Influenza and Preparedness for a Human Health Emergency" is being planned by a Steering Committee composed of APEC member economies through the APEC Health Task Force.
The Steering Committee was chaired by Dr. Chuck Lambert, Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Dr. Lambert said the seminar, planned for July in San Francisco, will bring together policy makers and sectoral experts to develop appropriate response mechanisms to deal with cross-border disease outbreaks such as Avian Influenza.
"We hope the symposium will build support across sectors, including agriculture, health, trade, tourism and finance, for the infrastructure development necessary to respond to the disease in affected economies," said Dr. Lambert.
"APEC provides an excellent forum to help to recognize the multi-sectoral dimensions that surround avian influenza and the difficulties in addressing the disease within each economy.
"Input from international organizations such as the WHO, FAO and the OIE also offer invaluable insight into this discussion."
In preparation for the multi-sector symposium, a Steering Committee comprised of APEC member economies convened in Singapore at the APEC Secretariat on January 26-27 to discuss the objectives and agenda for the event.
The Steering Committee was comprised of agricultural and health officials from China, Hong Kong China, Mexico, the Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, the United States, and Vietnam.
Representatives from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) participated in planning for the symposium. Participation will also be discussed with the World Animal Health Organization (OIE).
The symposium is being sponsored by the United States and co-sponsored by Hong Kong China and Chinese Taipei. The event will address the impacts and challenges presented by avian influenza in affected economies from a multi-sector perspective, and recommend to Senior Officials further measures based on the outcomes of the symposium.
APEC Leaders and Ministers have called on the Health Task Force to address increased cooperation in responding to the threats presented by infectious diseases, including avian influenza, in recent years.