Statement by Ambassador Mitsuru Kitano at the Board of Governors Meeting starting on 2 March 2015 Item 5: Strengthening Africa’s regional capacity for the diagnosis of emerging or re-emerging zoonotic diseases, including Ebola virus disease, and establishing early warning systems
Japan recognizes that it is vital to prevent outbreaks of serious infectious diseases, and to mitigate their consequences to the minimum, should they occur, in our efforts to achieve sustainable development of Africa. The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is a serious threat in this regard, and the international community needs to keep its vigilance and support to tackle this disease.
The Agency has extensive expertise and experience in diagnosing zoonotic diseases, and we expect the Agency to play an important role in developing and strengthening diagnosis capability and early warning systems for such diseases in Africa. We highly commend the Agency for its active engagement and its contribution to tackling the recent EVD crisis.
Last December, under the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI), the Agency developed a project in this area in a timely manner, namely “Enhancing Capacity of National Monitoring Teams for Diagnosis of Ebola Virus Disease under High Bio-Safety Conditions”, which focused on providing assistance to 11 African countries, including all affected countries and other countries concerned. Immediately after this project was proposed, Japan contributed 80,000 USD to help the Agency start implementing this project, and last week we also pledged a further contribution of 500,000 USD. Japan sent an expert to the first coordination meeting of this project, held in Uganda last week.
The regional TC project proposal submitted to this Board, namely “Strengthening Africa’s regional capacity for the diagnosis of emerging or re-emerging zoonotic diseases, including Ebola virus disease, and establishing early warning systems” focuses on Ebola and other zoonotic diseases and will provide assistance to all African countries. We highly value this project, as it will effectively complement the PUI project I mentioned before, in terms of range of focus and targeted countries.
We highly appreciate the efforts made by DDG Kwaku Aning and his staffs of the Secretariat in developing the project, and Japan supports the approval of this project by thisBoard. Furthermore, I am delighted to pledge our contribution of 500,000 US dollars to the project, which will be made available immediately after the approval, in order not to lose time to start this project. Together with previous contributions of 580,000 US dollars, Japan will have contributed a total of 1,080,000 US dollars to the Agency’s activities in this area. We encourage other Member States to support this important project.
With these comments, Japan supports the approval of the proposed TC project contained in GOV/2015/11.