20 November 2020, Rome/Paris/Geneva – The heads of the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) & World Health Organization (WHO) today launched a new One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
Group members include heads of government, government ministers, leaders from the private sector & civil society. The group is co-chaired by Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, & Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The full list of members of the One Health Global Leaders Group is available here.
The new group will harness the leadership & influence of these world-renowned figures to catalyze global attention & action to preserve antimicrobial medicines & avert the disastrous consequences of antimicrobial resistance.
The Tripartite organizations launched the group during World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020 (18-24 November), as part of their shared call for united action to preserve & protect antimicrobial medicines. The group was created in response to a recommendation from the Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance & supported by Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The Directors-General of FAO, OIE & WHO described the rapid rise of drug resistance as one of the world’s most urgent threats to human, animal & environmental health – endangering food security, international trade, economic development & undermining progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
A common agenda across human, animal & plant health
Misuse & overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals & agriculture are the main drivers of AMR. Resistant micro-organisms can spread between humans, animals or the environment, & the antimicrobials used to treat various infectious diseases in animals & humans can be the same.
“During the COVID-19 crisis, we must not forget that AMR is a ‘slow motion’ pandemic, with significant long-term threats to global public health & food security, which needs multi-stakeholders engagement,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said at a press conference today calling on all stakeholders, including international organizations, private sectors & civil society to double their efforts & strengthen partnerships towards achieving “One World, One Health & One Planet we are living on”.
Qu also highlighted the critical role of the Global Leaders Group in advancing response to antimicrobial resistance by building political momentum & public support.
He added that to accelerate progress in the fight against antimicrobial resistance, FAO was going to launch a new Action Plan on AMR for 2021-2025, aimed at providing further support to governments, producers, traders & other stakeholders for the adoption of measures to minimize the use of antimicrobials & to contain the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
Preventing the most severe outcomes of drug resistance
Antimicrobial resistance is making many infections harder to treat worldwide. WHO’s latest reporting shows that the world is running out of effective treatments for several common infections.
“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest health challenges of this generation, & we absolutely cannot leave it for the next generation to solve,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “Now is the time to forge new, cross-sector partnerships that will protect the medicines we have & revitalize the pipeline for new ones.”
Elevating political leadership for good governance
The One Health Global Leaders Group will provide political leadership & elevate the need to prioritize best practices to address antimicrobial resistance at global, regional, & national levels. & it will advise & advocate for the development & implementation of polices & legislation to govern the importation, manufacture, distribution & use of quality antimicrobial drugs across all sectors.
“Antimicrobial resistance is a current problem affecting animal health, human health, & the environment, we need to act today to protect their efficacy,” said Monique Eloit, Director-General of OIE. “I am confident that this group will advocate powerfully to implement legislation & mobilize key stakeholders to change antimicrobial use practices to protect our collective health & welfare.”