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Joining forces against Antimicrobial resistance

The Hague, 26 June 2014 - Last 25 and 26 of June 2014, ministers of health and agriculture and representatives of Member States from different regions of the World Health Organisation and of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), together with the Directors-General of WHO, OIE and FAO, have gathered in The Hague, The Netherlands, to discuss ways to face the challenges posed by the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

All together, they acknowledged the need of a common action against AMR, involving both human health and agricultural policies. Discussions outlined the shared willingness to design it as a stepwise approach, allowing the reduction in prevalence of antimicrobial resistance without endangering food supply and economical system.

Antimicrobials are a public good, essential for animal and human health.
In order to tackle the threat of AMR, the OIE promotes, through its intergovernmental standards*, the responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials to preserve their therapeutic efficacy in both animals and humans, and the implementation of risk assessment measures.

Today, antimicrobials are in many countries freely available to anyone, directly or indirectly, without restriction. Worse still, they circulate as normal goods without control and are often adulterated.
Inappropriate uses, without supervision of well-trained professionals, are also frequent, in human and animal health sectors, as well as in plant protection practices.
In The Hague, Dr Vallat, Director General of the OIE, highlighted that the global commitment of public authorities, both for human health services and veterinary services, is essential. He recalls that the development of the “One Health” concept, and the implementation of the OIE intergovernmental standards on good veterinary governance, prudent use of antimicrobials, data collection, and safety of international trade, are crucial.

Furthermore, the lack of harmonised surveillance systems allowing transparency on the use and circulation of antimicrobials and the prevalence of resistance is an important obstacle to the elaboration of global measures against AMR. The global and harmonised collection as soon as possible by the OIE disease information system of such data must be considered as a priority.
The need of the implementation of new innovative ways using public private partnerships was emphasised to facilitate the development of new antimicrobials and other innovative technologies. It includes developing diagnostics, vaccines and alternative approaches.
'The animal health sector must not be considered as a scapegoat on the AMR issue', explained Dr Vallat. 'However, it has a key role to play to avoid the disaster scenario of a world without efficient antibiotics in animals and humans. For this, specific and harmonised training of the veterinarians worldwide, strong link with the farmers and strengthening of the Veterinary Statutory bodies are indispensable. Veterinarians are not the problem, they are part of the solution.'

*There are four relevant chapters of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code and a list of Critically Important Antimicrobials for Veterinary Use. The World Assembly of OIE national Delegates adopted these standards as well as the list of antimicrobials agents of veterinary importance in 2007, which was updated in 2013 to take into account concerns for human health. Standards for analytic purposes are available in the Manual.