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World Veterinary Association makes case for animal health at United Nations anti-microbial resistance hearing

United Nations members, key specialists and stakeholders, including the World Veterinary Association, gathered in New York for a hearing on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). Participants engaged in insightful discussions, exchanging views on key priorities and challenges regarding AMR containment plans at national, regional, and global levels.

The hearing was held in preparation for the upcoming high-level meeting on AMR to happen in September, along with the United Nations’s General Assembly, and of the adoption of a new Declaration on AMR which will secure political engagement to address this worldwide emergency.

The hearing comprised three panels, focusing on crucial aspects of the AMR response, including financing and investments for country-level implementation, challenges related to antimicrobial access and research, and the importance of effective governance, coordination and cooperation.

Speakers included Mr. Dennis Francis, President of the United Nations General Assembly, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of WHO, Mr. Guangzhour Qu, Director of FAO Office in New York, and Dr. Javier Yugueros Marcos, Head of AMR at WOAH.

Dr. John de Jong, President of the World Veterinary Association, highlighted WVA’s long standing commitment to combat AMR globally, in alignment with the AMR Strategy of the World Organization for Animal Health and the Global Action Plan on AMR by the World Health Organization (WHO). WVA advocates for appropriate regulatory systems governing the licensing and control of veterinary drugs. Dr. de Jong stressed the importance of adherence to laws and regulations governing antimicrobial use and emphasised the necessity for a comprehensive One Health approach in addressing AMR.

Dr. de Jong proposed that the Declaration should include measures to strengthen animal health systems, ensuring they are well-regulated and supported by expertly trained professionals, promote the transformation of agrifood systems to good husbandry practices to reduce antimicrobial usage while optimising both animal health and welfare, and ensure access to safe and effective veterinary medicines. WVA, along with The Brooke, took a significant step forward to support this last point by launching the first-ever list of essential veterinary medicines for livestock, serving as a blueprint for countries to develop their own lists.

Dr de Jong also represented the Coalition Action for Animal Health of which WVA is a member and promoted its collective recommendations.

As we move forward, it is imperative to maintain momentum and strengthen collaborative efforts to address AMR comprehensively. WVA is also part of the AMR Multistakeholder Platform who was also present at the hearing and provided a statement based on its recommendations.

The multi-stakeholder hearing builds upon previous milestones, including the first UNGA high-level meeting on AMR in 2016 and a high-level Interactive Dialogue in April 2021. Despite progress, AMR remains a significant health, listed as one of the top 10 global public health threats. The forthcoming declaration must incorporate the key points outlined, prompting countries to initiate proactive measures to combat AMR.

Article re-published with kind permission from World Veterinary Association