USDA will assist the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization to launch a new crisis management center that will enhance worldwide response to animal disease. The Center will begin operations by the end of July at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.

The Crisis Management Center will provide animal disease analysis and information and deploy international resources to prevent and contain dangerous animal diseases. The current focus will be on highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza.

The United States will provide $1.8 million to FAO to create the Center. Other contributors include France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The FAO operations are aimed at:

  • Strengthening of disease intelligence and emergency preparedness;
  • Examining the role of migratory birds in the disease spread;
  • Supporting broad awareness creation and risk communication;
  • Analyzing the social and economic consequences of both the disease and its control;
  • Strengthening field surveillance, laboratory capabilities, and global avian influenza surveillance and early warning capabilities;
  • Advising governments and building capacities on disease surveillance and control.

For more information about the Center can be found at

For information about FAO's Animal Production and Health Division, go to