On May 15, Mr Gary Wertish, Facilitator of the WFO Working Group on Livestock, represented the World Farmers at the UN Multi-stakeholder Hearing on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) held at the UN Headquarters in New York.

This event was a preparatory step for the upcoming 2024 High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) to be convened by the President of the UN General Assembly on September 26, during the high-level week of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 79), under the theme “Investing in the present and securing our future together: Accelerating multi-sectoral global, regional and national actions to address Antimicrobial Resistance”.

The hearing convened a diverse group of stakeholders to deliberate on critical priorities for the 2024 High-Level Meeting and its political declaration while addressing significant challenges and potential solutions for managing AMR effectively on national, regional, and global scales.

Mr Wertish, the only farmer who took the floor during the event, had an opportunity to intervene in the panel discussion on “Effective governance, leadership, and coordination of the AMR response at the national, regional, and global levels.”

Mr Gary Wertish - Building Effective Governance for AMR: WFO at the UN Multi-stakeholder Hearing

In his address, Mr Wertish reaffirmed the WFO’s commitment to ensuring responsible antimicrobial use to preserve the long-term availability of effective treatment, prevention, and control of infections in the human health and livestock sector and prevent the development of AMR in humans, animals, and plants.

Highlighting the diversity of the challenges faced by each country and region, Mr Wertish emphasised the need for a differentiated approach to implementing measures targeted at specific contexts and different levels. Variations in farming practices, housing systems, animal species, diversity of disease risk, and the availability/access to veterinary medicine and services in each country/ region highlight the importance of including farmers and their organizations in the development and implementation of strategies for responsible antimicrobial use.

Farmers’ existence depends on sustainable livestock production with healthy and productive animals,” Mr Wertish stated. “Improving animal health and welfare through preventative measures is the most efficient way to reduce the need for antimicrobials; however, animal disease will continue to occur, and the ability to treat sick and injured animals must always be available to farmers.”

The WFO and its member organisations are ready to step up work with the UN, the AMR Quadripartite (FAO, WOAH, WHO, and UNEP), and other relevant institutions and stakeholders to promote preventative measures, secure equitable access to effective antimicrobials, and combat the sales of counterfeit, substandard, and falsified veterinary products.

In the lead up to the 2024 High-Level Meeting, the WFO is strengthening its support and offerings its convening role to farmers, veterinarians, specialists in livestock production, and food specialists to join forces to raise awareness and understanding of responsible antibiotic use.

For more information, please refer to the 2019 WFO Political Position on Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Livestock.