The Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp is an external adviser to the Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance. The group seeks to bring political attention to the issue of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and recently held their first face to face meeting in Barbados. Global responses to the COVID pandemic have informed the need for integrated prevention, preparedness and response to AMR which is often called the ‘silent pandemic’. The group has successfully elevated the political profile of AMR through having the issue addressed at G7, G20 and the United Nations General Assembly. However key constraints remain – new antimicrobials are not being developed, and ongoing funding for a range of AMR activities including integrated surveillance is not assured.
The Global Leaders Group meeting was opened by the four Director Generals of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) the World Health Organisation (WHO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH). The UNEP launched their report ‘Bracing for Superbugs: Strengthening environmental action in the One Health response to antimicrobial resistance’ into AMR in the environment.
We anticipate that the UN General Assembly next year will include a major political statement on AMR which will seek to position AMR as a global challenge affecting everyone, similar to climate change. There will be significant challenges ahead, particularly for animal health with shifting expectations for appropriate use of antimicrobials in livestock and companion animals.