US boosts UN AI programme

The US government has pledged to provide an additional $44.4m in support of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) campaign against global avian influenza (AI).

The funding from the US Agency for International Development, means the FAO can concentrate on getting AI under control in countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Cambodia.

FAO chief veterinary officer Joseph Domenech said: "Although many countries have successfully managed to get AI under control, the virus remains present in 10 countries and is mainly entrenched in countries such as Egypt, Indonesia and Vietnam. The additional US funds will enable the FAO to continue its work in support of countries that are still struggling to get the virus under control."

US support for the FAO AI programme has now reached $112.8m, making it the largest donor in a group that includes the European Commission, the World Bank and the UN Development Programme among others.

Gaddi Vasquez, ambassador of the US Mission to FAO, said: "The strong partnership with FAO is an integral component of our international efforts to contain and control Highly Pathogenic AI at its animal source."

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