Expert says infectious diseases threaten human security

Paris, France (PANA) - David Lawson, an expert in international relations, has warned, in a book published in Paris by "Editions l'Harmattan", against infectious diseases, affirming that they currently represent a very serious threat to human security and global stability.

This 280-page book, titled "Infectious alert: Fresh Threats on International Stability" is a real "geopolitical assessment of infectious diseases". It specifically deals with the issue of AIDS and assesses its impact on the world.

"With this study on infectious diseases in the 21st century, I intended to draw attention on the threats posed by their expansion and their impact on the major themes of international relations, like armed conflicts, development, migratory flows, humanitarian crisis, among others," David Lawson, also an expert for the UN Fund for Population (UNFPA), told PANA.

He also cited AIDS, SARS, Chikungunya, avian flu, Ebola fever, among the emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases, while considering that they largely go beyond medical and scientific fields to deal negative impacts on economic and social development in countries and serve as a catalyst for international tensions.

"As explained in the book, infectious diseases are a serious threat to modern societies as they tend to weaken our States' dynamic forces and institutions, therefore shaking foundations of our societies, especially in poor countries, that are poorly prepared to face that kind of situation," the author stated.

"I think that it does not suffice to just deal with infectious diseases separately and on the basis of each region's specific concerns. We should also adopt a comprehensive approach in order to anticipate and better prevent certain consequences which might result in their expansion," Lawson insisted.

The author also insists on the risks that could result from the combination of several infectious diseases and the emergence of fast-spreading strains of existing viruses, especially due human's resistance to antibiotics.

Referring to the globalisation context, he noted that no country and no region is today out of reach of infectious diseases, which are like weapons of mass destruction threatening international security.

"Although the two last decades experienced a record emergence of new viruses, they were rich in teachings, particularly as regards the management of AIDS by the international community. I wish to recall that the 2001 United Nations General Assembly held a special session on the issue, promoting global awareness as well as the initiation of a comprehensive response adapted to the scope of the problem,
especially by the creation of the Global Fund to control AIDS, TB and malaria", said the former expert of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

"The international community's reaction to the threat of human transmission of avian flu strengthens my conviction that there is both global awareness as well as political and financial mobilization in terms of prevention of the infectious risk factor, even if these means remain inadequate, particularly in Africa," Lawson noted.

In his opinion, infectious diseases can only be treated if they are attacked through a global dimension and dealt with seriously, just like the major international issues, by way of "consistent" responses obtained through the pooling of States' resources under the aegis of the UN agencies.

"My book underlines the efforts made by the international community in order to deal with the various infectious diseases. It also acknowledges that a lot remains to be done for an adapted response to what represents one of the most serious threats to global stability. Infectious diseases will figure among the major challenges to the century, just like the environmental issue, of which they form an integral part," Lawson further mentioned.

Lawson also authored "Hong Kong, China", published in 2002, and "The Paris Club", published in 2004.



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