UN Response

“Avian influenza threatens the entire world. It knows no borders. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that all countries – rich and poor – are protected and prepared. The United Nations family will do all it can to help ensure that this happens.”

- Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General


The collective goal of the UN System is to help national authorities implement programmes with strong national ownership and adequate resources. The UN System expects to do this with a high degree of inter-agency coherence and synergy, whether working at country, regional or global levels.The five areas of action include:

Healthy livestock production systems and animal health services capable of responding to highly pathogenic avian influenza,

Functioning human public health systems (that can detect, respond to and contain serious infections, including avian and pandemic influenza),

Social mobilisation activities that include communication for behaviour change

Crisis preparedness efforts that include contingency planning for influenza pandemics,

Institutional arrangements for co-coordinated financial and technical support for effective national implementation of integrated influenza programmes

The UN as a whole contributes to work in these areas through support for seven objectives.

Objective 1. Animal Health and Biosecurity
Ensuring, through a global, cohesive framework in response to avian influenza in poultry, that animal health is safeguarded, bio-security is brought up to standard, and capacity is there, when needed, for scaling up veterinary services to detect early and stamp out rapidly new avian infections through prompt movement restrictions and culling, and for sustaining vaccination of poultry and other interventions when they are indicated. Clarifying how the emergence of pandemic agents, food and agricultural practices, land use and ecosystem management are related.

Objective 2. Sustaining livelihoods
Ensuring that the economic and poverty impact of avian influenza as well as related control measures are monitored and rectified; limiting any adverse repercussions on the Millennium Development Goals; seeking fair and equitable compensation for those whose livelihoods are endangered by avian influenza and control measures.

Objective 3. Human Health
Strengthening public health infrastructure, including surveillance systems, to (i) reduce human exposure to the H5N1 virus; (ii) strengthen early warning systems, including early detection and rapid response to human cases of avian influenza; (iii) intensify rapid containment operations and responses for a newly emerging human influenza virus; (iv) build capacity to cope with a pandemic, including surge capacity for a pandemic; and (v) coordinate global science and research, particularly as this pertains to the availability of a pandemic vaccine and antiviral drugs. Strengthening community based treatment of acute respiratory infections, including pre-positioning of medical supplies in peripheral areas to enhance capacity to respond as well as to enhance nutrition security and access to micronutrients to minimise the impact of infection on susceptible populations.

Objective 4. Coordination of National, Regional and International Stakeholders
Ensuring that national government ministries work together in a focused way,bringing in civil society and private sector groups, in pursuit of sound strategies for avian influenza control and pandemic preparedness.

Objective 5. Public Information and Communication to Support Behaviour Change
Strategic communication to provide clear and unambiguous risk and outbreak information to the general public and key groups of people with the highest potential for stemming the spread and impact of the disease. This will include communicating with the public, households and communities to involve and mobilise them to adopt appropriate behaviours to reduce risks and mitigate the impact of any outbreaks or pandemic.

Objective 6. Continuity under Pandemic Conditions
Ensuring the continuity of essential social, economic and governance services, and effective implementation of humanitarian relief, under pandemic conditions.

Objective 7. Humanitarian Common Services Support
Ensuring that - in the event that national capacity is overwhelmed by pandemic conditions – agreed emergency operating procedures are invoked and benefit from information technology and logistics capacity set up and made operational beforehand.