Microbes, Business, and Governments. Are we Ready?

The worst of the Covid-19 pandemic might have passed, but microbes continue to evolve. H5N1 Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) is again causing global outbreaks in poultry. However, it is the unexpected spread of bird flu to several domestic and wild mammal species that is alarming health experts, particularly the number of US dairy herds and milk supplies now infected.


Intensive agriculture puts farm animals at great risk and will make this H5N1outbreak very difficult to contain. Another health-security complication is the generalised use of antibiotics in feedlots, now likely to rise. Experts have warned such indiscriminate use can promote the growth of anti-microbial resistance - placing humans (and animals) at risk of untreatable infections. 

Governments will be under significant pressure to minimise any H5N1 virus mutations transmitting to humans. We have yet to see what trade consequences there might be for domestic and international food chains as states try to protect their people and industries. 

In the next few months, two multilateral events concerned with these issues will happen:


Negotiations are taking place in the World Health Organization to develop a Pandemic Preparedness Treaty

The Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) crisis will be the subject of a high-level meeting during the forthcoming UN General Assembly in September.

At our June event, AIIA WA, in partnership with the Forrest Research Foundation, welcome adjunct professor Anna George to talk us through these issues - food chains, trade, intellectual property, WTO rules, transmission mechanisms, and genetic data sharing. She will outline the challenge for politicians and bureaucracies to be capable of addressing Australia's national interest in an environment which normally operates in policy silos for the benefit of diverse and powerful interests. 

Jun 24, 2024

6:00 PM - 8:00 PM GMT+8

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The Ashburton Room, Forrest Hall
21 Hackett Dr., Crawley WA 6009
Crawley, Western Australia, Australia

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  • Anna George (Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University)

    Anna George

    Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University

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Member Ticket

Doors open at 6:00pm. Presentation begins at 6:30

Member Price A$10
Non Member Ticket

Doors open at 6:00pm. Presentation begins at 6:30


The Australian Institute of International Affairs for WA

The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) is an independent, non-profit organisation seeking to promote interest in and understanding of international affairs in Australia.

The WA Branch of the AIIA was founded in 1947 by Professor Fred Alexander of the University of WA, who became its first President. Like the earlier established branches in the other Australian states, the WA Branch was modelled on the British Royal Institute of International Affairs, based at Chatham House in London.

The WA Branch has maintained a steady membership, including many prominent West Australian and national leaders. Successive State Governors have served as the Branch's Official Visitor. The aim of the institute is to be an independent and non-political body that facilitates and encourages the study and debate of international questions.

Membership fees includes a subscription to The Australian Journal of International Affairs as well as two tickets at the member price to each of our our monthly meetings where you will learn about developments in international affairs of concern to the people of Western Australia. We rely on membership contributions and sponsorship of special events to keep our association running: we receive no core funding from government.