The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) – jointly known as the Quadripartite – are launching a new platform that will focus on the threat of antimicrobial resistance to living beings, ecosystems, and livelihoods.
The new Antimicrobial Resistance Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform aims to address the global impacts of AMR.
The WHO says an estimated 1.3 million people worldwide die each year directly due to AMR. If no action is taken, that number could soar dramatically, bringing higher public health costs and pushing more people into poverty, especially in low-income countries. This underscores the need for the new platform to mobilize further coordinated efforts.
Why is AMR on the rise?
The success of modern medicine is largely attributed to antibiotics and other antimicrobials, which have significantly improved human and animal health.
However, excessive and improper use has decreased the effectiveness of antimicrobials, opening the door for infections to learn to resist them.
AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites stop responding to antimicrobial agents. This makes antimicrobials less effective or ineffective in treating diseases they previously cured.
In other words, infections become very difficult to treat, and the risks of disease spreading, severe illness, and death increase.
According to the WHO, “1.3 billion people rely on livestock for their livelihoods, and 20 million people depend on aquaculture, especially in low and middle-income countries. The spread of resistant strains of pathogens inexorably affects their livelihoods, as it increases animal suffering and losses. Applications to crops, as well as improper disposal of unused and expired drugs and waste from industries and communities can lead to pollution of soils and streams that spread the trigger for unwanted microorganisms to develop resistance to tools meant to contain and eliminate them.”
New AMR platform is inclusive and international
The new Antimicrobial Resistance Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform is an open, global forum that unites voices from various fields, industries, and viewpoints to create a shared vision in response to the requirement for better coordination of activities by numerous stakeholders.
“Antimicrobial resistance threatens animal health, food safety, and food security, economic prosperity, and ecosystems worldwide,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. “The world needs to join forces now to prevent drug-resistant diseases and reduce its implications.”
“AMR challenges cannot be understood or addressed separately from the triple planetary crisis – the crisis of climate change, the crisis of nature and biodiversity loss, and the crisis of pollution and waste, all of which are driven by unsustainable consumption and production patterns,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.
“This platform will be vital in raising the profile and urgency of addressing AMR while building and maintaining political momentum and public support,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The platform is a mechanism to increase group efforts to save millions of lives and sustainably use antimicrobials so that they remain effective for the present and future generations, the WHO states.