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Regular Efforts to Ensure Peace and Security in the International Community~Non-Traditional Security Issues


Addressing an Avian Flu Pandemic through Intraregional Cooperation

Implementing Agency The Sasakawa Peace Foundation
Tohoku University
Year 3/3
Project classification Self-OperatedGrantCommissionedOthers Year project budget implementation 13,701,896yen
Project contents
In the blink of an eye, the new strain of influenza A (H1N1) that originated in North America last spring became a worldwide pandemic. Furthermore, pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) retains the possibility of mutating into a new strain of influenza virus. Were this to occur, widespread damage would result, particularly in developing countries, where relatively low standards of medical care and economic resources are commonplace. Hence, there is great need for such countries to develop appropriate responses to pandemics, in addition to a system of effective interregional cooperation. In this project, the impending threat presented by a pandemic will be handled as a non-traditional security issue, and diverse actors from various countries and specialties will be brought together to cooperate towards a resolution.
Implementation plan
In the final year of the project, the following activities will be carried out.  

  • Steering Committee meetings (twice annually, Tokyo) :
    Steering Committee meetings will be held with six doctors and epidemiologists, and a strategy will be determined for future activities.
  • Summarization of regional level pandemic countermeasures (throughout the year) :
    In FY2009, pandemic countermeasures, including increasing public awareness of precautions, surveillance, and creation of a medical system, were investigated and put through a trial run in the Eastern Visayas region in the Philippines (relevant work outsourced to Tohoku University). This year, the results of the trial run will be summarized, and, through workshops and inspections, findings will be shared among persons from the Philippines, municipalities in surrounding nations, and people involved in infection control measures.
  • Creation of proposals regarding an ideal format for intraregional cooperation (throughout the year):
    On the basis of issues and points clarified during regional level initiatives, proposals will be drawn up on cooperation in the Asian region. The final report will be created using information gathered at research meetings (five times per year) held with young researchers active in various fields, including diplomacy/security guarantees, science, and technology as well as through interviews with persons knowledgeable in relevant fields. When drafting the proposals, cooperation will be sought from Mika Shimizu, visiting scholar from the East-West Center.
  • Dissemination of results (January-March 2011):
    The results of the work carried out into control measures for diseases in Asia, including new strains of influenza, will be disseminated along with relevant proposals. The results will be shared with a wide range of people active in the field, including representatives of international organizations and government, NGOs and researchers. To this end, SPF will host domestic seminars and dispatch experts involved with the project to international conferences and similar events.
  • Costs for the activities of the secretariat (throughout the year):
    To effectively manage the project, SPF will dispatch its staff to coordinate with experts (members of committee, etc.) from Japan and overseas, international institutions (WHO, ASEAN Secretariat, etc.) and organizations involved in international sanitation.
Project Results
Project activities began in fiscal 2008 centered on preparing for new types of influenza pandemics and proposing countermeasures at the local level as well as the regional level in Asia, based on conditions in developing countries in Asia. This year, the final year of the project, deeper analysis was conducted through pilot studies in the Philippines, and also an international workshop sponsored jointly with Tohoku University (February 2011 in Manila) was held for sharing project findings with neighboring Asian countries. The workshop was attended by representatives of central and local governments of five countries in Asia (The Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam) and of the WHO Western-Pacific office in charge of pandemic preparedness, all of whom discussed the challenges and lessons learned from dealing with the H1N1 pandemic and future perspectives to raise preparedness for the possibility of infectious diseases in Asia.

Separate from this international workshop, a working group was formed by researchers on public health, security assurance and crises management, who examined topics for promoting greater cooperation and better preparedness in dealing with new types of influenza and other infectious diseases in the Asian region, and came up with their recommendations in policy reports.