FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

United in the One Health approach to protect antimicrobials

As Tripartite partners, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Sub-Regional Representation for Central Asia, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe, are united in support of the World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) 2020.

Since 2015, this Week has been focusing on awareness-raising and education working towards the responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials. This year, the name of this awareness initiative, which was previously known as the World Antibiotic Awareness Week, was changed to World Antimicrobial Awareness Week to reflect the breadth of the initiative. Antimicrobials include antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal agents, which are critical tools for treating diseases in humans, animals, and plants.

The World Antibiotic Awareness Week is of particular importance this year as the COVID-19 crisis is increasing the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials, including antibiotics. Unless something is done, this could worsen the growing long-term problems of antimicrobial resistance.

The Tripartite recognizes the need for access to antimicrobials, as they are essential to ensure human and animal health, food supply and food safety. However, countries need to step up implementation of their national strategies and policies across sectors, as well as their commitment to tackling the emergence of antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance is a global crisis. There is no time to wait. Everyone has a role to play to preserve the effectiveness of antimicrobials. The Tripartite calls on their Member States to strengthen measures to combat antimicrobial resistance, widely publicize the global challenge, and encourage people to change their behaviour regarding the use of antimicrobials. Human and animal health, the environment and food sectors, as well as civil society must unite efforts to preserve antimicrobial efficacy through a multisectoral One Health approach.

The antimicrobial resistance crisis applies to everyone. So, let us act for the sake of all humanity.

13 November 2020, Budapest, Hungary