The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) presented a new five-year plan to help members tackle the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The FAO Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance 2021-2025 notes that because resistant microbes cross borders, a global effort is the only way to assure everyone is protected. Among its key principles are the need for science-based evidence to identify and manage AMR risks before they become large-scale emergencies, the utility of surveillance and training around the world, the importance of incentivizing and empowering stakeholders to transform awareness of AMR risks into action.
The overriding goal of AMR actions now is not to eradicate the use of antimicrobials but to preserve their utility, especially as the amount of food produced for humans in the next 30 years will be the same as produced in the last 10,000 years combined. “We need to keep antimicrobials working for as long as possible to buy time for new drug discovery,” the plan states.
The Action Plan follows a One Health approach and points to various possible improvements in agriculture practices to better control AMR, from good nutrition for people and animals, vaccination, hygiene, sanitation and genetics, among other areas. Another key focus is in managing waste, as antimicrobials discharged from humans and animals as well as hospitals and abattoirs can enter the environment and speed up the emergence and spread of resistant strains and genes. The plan calls for more AMR-related research and surveillance in the crop, aquaculture and environment sectors.
FAO has already helped more than 40 low and middle-income countries develop and implement National Action Plans for AMR. It also facilitates access to resources and technical networks and has developed a set of tools to assist countries to broaden their action to more food and agriculture sectors.
Check out the Action plan here.