Some 45 delegates from FAO member countries (China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam), resource experts (China, Croatia, Hong Kong SAR, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, USA), organizations (MSD Pharma Singapore, NACA, SEAFDEC-AQD) and FAO officers tackle the challenges and key issues concerning AMR in the aquatic sector.

AMR occurs when microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites affecting humans, terrestrial & aquatic animals and plants) become resistant to antimicrobial agents, thus making infections or diseases caused by such microorganisms more difficult or impossible to treat.  While antimicrobials play a critical role for ensuring health and productivity, their imprudent use and the associated emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistant microorganisms place everyone at great risk.

This final workshop (12-14 December 2017), of the FAO Project FMM/RAS/298/MUL, hosted by the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore, in collaboration with INFOFISH, provides an important platform to improve the scientific understanding of AMR, to share experiences in setting governance mechanisms to support national action plans on AMR (within One Health and tripartite mechanism), to continuously enhance knowledge on food fish safety hazards, disease prevention, correct diagnostics, disease management and best practice (good biosecurity and good aquaculture) and future actions and capacity development needs to address AMR.

The aquatic sector benefits from the prudent use of antimicrobials in terms of improving on-farm biosecurity and husbandry (e.g. use of vaccines and disinfectants), treating chronic diseases (that cause reduced growth, low food conversion rate and poor survival thus leading to reduced production) and epizootic diseases (that can cause mass mortalities, there are concerns regarding threats posed by abuse, overuse, misuse; human and animal health issues; environmental and ecological issues; antimicrobial residues and AMR.

During the 68th World Health Assembly (May 2017), countries reaffirmed their commitment to develop AMR National Action Plans, based on the Global Action Plan on AMR – the blueprint for tackling AMR – developed in 2015 by the WHO in coordination FAO and OIE. Strengthening regulation of antimicrobials, improving knowledge and awareness, promoting best practices and fostering innovative approaches using alternatives to antimicrobials and new technologies for diagnosis and vaccines are key actions. Leaders at the UN General Assembly (UNGA September 2016) called on WHO, FAO and OIE, in collaboration with development banks such the World Bank other relevant stakeholders, to coordinate their planning and actions, support the development and implementation of National Action Plans and AMR activities at the national, regional and global levels and to report back to the UNGA in September 2018.

FAO, as the global authority on food and agriculture, will continue to provide technical assistance to members within the framework of One Health and the FAO Action Plan on AMR (2016-2020) focussing on the four pillars (awareness, evidence, best practice and governance) in support of Resolution 4/2015 on AMR adopted during the 39th FAO Conference (June 2015).

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