UN makes declaration that will curb the use of antibiotics on farm
The 193 member countries of the United Nations made a pledge this week at a General Assembly to improve the use of antimicrobials on farms that will see stricter monitoring of their use. Also included in the declaration is a commitment to develop new medicines.
The rise in antibiotic resistance is “mainly due to inappropriate use of antimicrobial medicines in human, animal, food, agriculture and aquaculture sectors”, UN members said in the declaration.
The declaration means that Ireland, and the other member states, now have to develop a national action plan and increase the funding made available for improving monitoring of antibiotic use in the farming sector and to develop new medicines. The plan must be reported back to the United Nations in two years' time.
“We are beginning to lose the ability to treat infections,” Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and special representative for antimicrobial resistance, told reporters ahead of a high-level meeting that took place in New York prior to the UN’s General Assembly where the declaration was made. “It has been projected by the year 2050, we will have more people die from antibiotic resistant infections than from cancer currently.”
Fakuda added that greater awareness of the problem is needed.
“The whole basis of sustainable food depends in large part on antibiotics,” he said. “Agriculture must shoulder its share of responsibility, both by using antimicrobials more responsibly and by cutting down on the need to use them, through good farm hygiene.”