WASHINGTON – Global leaders in the food and health industries gathered in Washington, DC, this week at the One Health Summit to discuss ways all parties could work together to combat antimicrobial resistance as part of a global sustainability effort. More than 250 representatives from industries relating to food and health held open discussions on the topic and explored three specific areas aimed at helping animal agriculture combat antimicrobial resistance.
The three core ideas and resulting outcomes were:
- Increasing veterinary oversight: While everyone agrees that veterinarians play a critical role in maintaining animal health and making the appropriate treatment decisions in order to prevent disease, there is oftentimes a gap in veterinary availability and training in some countries, and even in parts of the United States.
Outcome: Summit participants formed a working group to establish a pilot project to develop and test a model for increasing veterinary capacity and training. The World Veterinary Association (WVA) has agreed to chair the working group. The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has offered to convene stakeholders to explore funding opportunities and build capacity. Finally, the Gates Foundation stated they will work with stakeholders to build connections and consider funding support in countries aligned with the Foundation's strategy.
- Improving antimicrobial resistance monitoring and reporting: There is a lack of effective global measures to monitor, report and track antimicrobial resistance.
Outcome: The Summit participants agreed to continue working together to develop a process to collect and harmonize data on global antibiotic use and resistance across all livestock sectors.
- Accelerating innovation: Innovation is necessary if the issue of antimicrobial resistance is to be solved. Summit participants recognized there are significant barriers across regulatory, legislative and marketplace segments.
Outcome: A cross-functional working group formed to advance innovation and build public confidence in innovative solutions.
“Tackling the challenge of antimicrobial resistance is bigger than one company or industry, requiring cross-sector stakeholders to come together,” the organizers of the One Health Summit said in a news release. “The One Health Summit is only the beginning – a catalyst for new actions and ideas to create a path forward.”
In addition, a statement by the participants of the One Health Summit was issued to the United Nations in relation to its General Assembly call to action on global antimicrobial resistance.
“As members of the global animal protein community, we support the United Nations efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance as part of our efforts to produce a safe, sustainable food supply. We’ll each do our part to help maintain antibiotics' long-term effectiveness to ensure the health of people, animals and the planet. We have identified the following priorities for the industry to focus on:
- Developing global standards of responsible antibiotic use in livestock.
- Support elimination of the use of shared-class antibiotics for growth promotion purposes globally, regardless of whether they are allowed by local regulations.
- Continue to identify new and better ways to care for animals to enhance animal welfare and reduce the need for antibiotics, including fostering an environment that stimulates innovation.
- Support increasing veterinary training and capacity, particularly in developing countries, to ensure proper use of antibiotics and other tools.
- Improving antimicrobial resistance monitoring and reporting, so we can accurately identify issues and track progress against resistance.
“We recognize the importance of healthy animals and their impact on human health and the health of the environment, as well as their role in meeting the expected 60 percent increase in protein demand. Healthy animals mitigate antimicrobial resistance potential and reduce disease spread. Healthy animals have a better quality of life and fulfill the growing need for meat, milk and eggs to nourish the increasing global population. Healthy animals use resources more efficiently, lessening our environmental footprint.
“We will work across the global protein food chain and the health systems to address this critical societal need, using a balanced, One Health approach to protect the health of animals, people and the planet.”