European countries will jointly tackle antimicrobial resistance in the health and agriculture sectors. That is the outcome of the European ministerial conference on antimicrobial resistance held in Amsterdam on 10 February.
For the first time in the history of the European Union, The Netherlands brought together ministers of health and ministers of agriculture to discuss the threat of antimicrobial resistance. This so-called One Health approach underscores that cooperation between the sectors is crucial.
Not only representatives of the member states, but also Margaret Chan, directorgeneral of the World Health Organization (WHO), Vytenis Andriukaitis EU Commissioner Health and Food, and Maria Helena Semedo, vice-director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) participated in the conference. Also non member states Switzerland and Norway were present.
Martijn van Dam, Netherlands Minister for Agriculture, called for a drastic reduction in the use, for livestock, of antibiotics critical for human health. He also stressed the importance of a joint approach. ‘It’s not just about a common strategy in health care and agriculture, but also about cooperation between individual countries. Bacteria don’t stop at borders.’ Other countries endorsed the ministers’ call to action.
This conference is a prelude to the informal and formal meetings of the health and agriculture councils that will take place separately in the spring. The aim is for EU member states to take decisions on this issue at these meetings. More European consultation on this topic will take place in the coming months.
Thursday February 11, 2016/ The Netherlands EU Presidency 2016/ European Union.