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By Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
October 27, 2007

In what critics consider a huge powergrab by the United Nations and its supporters in the United States, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America summit in Canada released a plan that established UN law along with regulations by the World Trade Organization and World Health Organization as being supreme over US law and set the stage for militarizing the management of continental health emergencies.

According to a Government Accountability Office report released in September, The U.S. government operates or supports four key programs aimed at building overseas surveillance capacity for infectious diseases. In fiscal years 2004-2006, U.S. agencies obligated approximately $84 million for these programs, which operate in developing countries around the world.

An influenza pandemic is a real and significant potential threat facing the United States and the world. Pandemics are unlike other emergencies because they are not a singular event nor discretely bounded in space and time.

The personnel who provide federal leadership roles and responsibilities for preparing for and responding to a pandemic, made an assessment of the Strategy and Plan, and reviewed opportunities to increase clarity of federal leadership roles and responsibilities and improve pandemic planning. The Government Accountability Office used its characteristics of an effective national strategy to assess the Strategy and Plan.

The issues discussed in the testimony are based primarily on the GAO report, Influenza Pandemic: Further Efforts Are Needed to Ensure Clearer Federal Leadership Roles and an Effective National Strategy (GAO-07-781).

Assessments by U.S. agencies and international organizations have identified widespread risks of the emergence of pandemic influenza and the United States has identified priority countries for assistance, but information gaps limit the capacity for comprehensive comparisons of risk levels by country.


Several assessments were examined, which have considered environmental or preparedness-related risks or both, illustrate these gaps. For example, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) assessment categorized countries according to the level of environmental risk--considering factors such as disease presence and the likelihood of transmission from nearby countries, but factors such as limited understanding of the role of poultry trade or wild birds constrain the reliability of the conclusions.

Further, USAID, the State Department, and the United Nations have administered questionnaires to assess country preparedness and World Bank-led missions have gathered detailed information in some countries, but these efforts do not provide a basis for making comprehensive global comparisons.

Efforts to get better information are under way but will take time. The U.S. Homeland Security Council has designated priority countries for assistance, and agencies have further identified several countries as meriting the most extensive efforts, but officials acknowledge that these designations are based on limited information. The United States has played a prominent role in global efforts to improve avian and pandemic influenza preparedness, committing the greatest share of funds and creating a framework for managing its efforts.

Through 2006, the United States had committed about $377 million, 27 percent of the $1.4 billion committed by all donors. USAID and the Department of Health and Human Services have provided most of these funds for a range of efforts, including stockpiles of protective equipment and training foreign health professionals in outbreak response.

The State Department coordinates international efforts and the Homeland Security Council monitors progress. More than a third of U.S. and overall donor commitments have gone to individual countries, with more than 70 percent of those going to U.S. priority countries.

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The U.S. National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan provides a framework for U.S. international efforts, assigning agencies specific action items and specifying performance measures and time frames for completion.

Related Article:
1, Pandemic Protocols May Prove Worse Than the Disease

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...Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America summit in Canada released a plan that established UN law along with regulations by the World Trade Organization and World Health Organization as being supreme over US law...