News and Opinions  –  2018

Joint letter to IACG on AMR: a call to increase transparency and civil society involvement

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ReAct Africa, ReAct Asia Pacific, ReAct Europe, ReAct Latin America and ReAct North America together with other members and partners of the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC) has written a joint letter to the UN Inter-Agency Coordination Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance to call on the group to increase the transparency of, and civil society involvement in, its policy deliberation and meeting process.

Image: Geralt, Pixabay.

The letter specifically calls attention to the session on antibiotic use in food production held in Paris on October 17, 2017. This event represented an important opportunity for the IACG to hear informed perspectives, yet failed to include a single public interest civil society perspective.

Instead the IACG heard from two panels comprised of representatives from the US Department of Agriculture and industry speakers from the International Dairy Federation, International Meat Secretariat, International Egg Commission, International Poultry Council, Federation of European Aquaculture Producers, and Health for Animals (an organization representing manufacturers of veterinary pharmaceutical products).

Concern for public interest perspectives

ARC members highlighted a host of concerns that their public interest perspectives could have been brought to the IACG policy dialogue:

  • These range from the need for an urgent response to the emergence of plasmid-mediated colistin resistance around the world
  • to the catalytic role that consumer groups have played in motivating restaurant and retail chains to source food animal products raised without the routine use of antibiotics.
  • ARC members urged the IACG to host a civil society panel focused on antimicrobial use in animal health and agriculture.
  • They also urged that the new WHO guidelines on use of medically important antimicrobials in food-producing animals become part of its recommendations to the UN.

The letter concludes with the offer of identifying potential civil society groups that connect their deep reservoir of knowledge of regional and national realities to the critical task of implementing National Action Plans on Antimicrobial Resistance.