By Marco Marzano de Marinis, Secretary General, World Farmers’ Organisation
Antimicrobial resistance, often referred to as AMR, is an increasingly serious threat to global public health.
As the international community is now on the way to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, there is still an urgent need to increase attention and policy coherence at the international, regional and national levels. Implementation of Goal 3, however, demands a change in mindset from addressing singular issues to taking a more systematic, multi-stakeholders’ approach. Addressing the global nature of many health issues will also be critical to our success. Getting many actors and sectors to coordinate their work with others to achieve a common goal is difficult.
World leaders gathered at the UN headquarters on Wednesday for a high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance to explore the growing threat of infections that no longer respond to the drugs used to treat them.
The urgency of the current crisis of drug-resistant bacteria is clear: the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the number of people who die from antibiotic resistance infections will reach 10 million a year in 2050.
A board member of the World Farmers’ Organization, David George Velde, represented the voice of the farmers’ costituency, stimulating an intense debate during the segment of the meeting dedicated to the analysis of the biggest stumblimg blocks and major incentives for cooperation among multiple sectors to ensure a multi-sectorial concerted action.
“Producers respond to market stimulus,” David George Velde said in an on-stage colloquy.
“One of the dramatic shifts that has occurred is the awakening of public awareness of health issues, in terms of where does their food come from, how is it produced, how is it processed. The growing interest by consumers in knowing the answers to those questions is having a huge effect in the marketplace.”
In many parts of the world, AMR is not directly linked to consumers, as clear food safety standards have been developed that prohibit the presence of antimicrobial compounds in food products.
Animal products that enter the food chain are routinely tested for residues of antimicrobial products. The products are rejected for consumption in case residues are detected.
“Each country needs to develop national strategies for reducing antimicrobial use and resistance.”
“We must engage all stakeholders in this conversation towards constructive problem solving. The best way to engage the farm sector is to provide incentives for establishing public-private-producer partnerships to address the antimicrobial resistance issue,” he added.
WFO represented the only farmer organization on a the high-level session of the United Nations General Assembly 2016, in New York, involving the Prime Minister of Norway, the Minister of Health of Argentina, the Secretary of the Department of Health of the Philippines, Vice President of the World Bank, and President and CEO of Consumer Reports.
The declaration to fight antimicrobial resistance marked only the fourth time in the U.N.’s 71-year history that it called on world leaders to address a health issue, commensurate with HIV/AIDS, chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, and Ebola.
This article by Marco Marzano de Marinis, Secretary General, World Farmers’ Organisation, is being included as part of GFAR’s Partner Spotlight of the World Farmers’ Organization. For more information on the Partners in GFAR, and to become a Partner, visit the GFAR website!
Photo credit: Wikipedia