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Combating Infectious Diseases in East Asia

Securitization and Global Public Goods for Health and Human Security

May 1, 2006

Mely Caballero-Anthony, Journal of International Affairs, Columbia University, Spring/Summer 2006, vol. 59, no. 2.

From the Introduction

Since the Asia-wide outbreak of the SARS virus in 2003, the threats from infectious diseases have become more severe. No sooner had the region begun to recover from the devastating impact of SARS than news about the rising incidence of avian influenza cases—on almost a daily basis and with an ever-expanding geographic reach—raised alarm about the potentially imminent outbreak of a pandemic of global proportions. In this era of globalization and regionalization, such infectious diseases have the capacity to detrimentally affect the security and well-being of all members of society and all aspects of the economy. This point was highlighted at the 2006 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland with the release of the 2006 Global Risks Report. The report ranked pandemics and natural disasters among the highest in the list of risks currently confronting the international community. The study also concluded that despite the interplay of these multiple global risks and their combined ripple effects, which can be potentially devastating, "disaster planning and crisis management suffer from a number of shortcomings." Among these are limited investment of resources in health systems and varying responses to different assessments of threats.

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Read More: Environment, Globalization, Health, Human Rights, Security

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