On backing a FAO work to tackle antimicrobial resistance

05.04.2017 г.

Russia is supporting an FAO-led effort to promote food safety and prevent the spread of medicine-resistant microorganisms in food and on farms in five Eastern European and Central Asian countries with a donation of nearly $3.25 million.

A new Russia-supported FAO project in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will help national authorities get a better handle the threats posed by antimicrobial resistant microbes in agriculture and food systems.

The funding will be used to support action on three broad fronts:

· Strengthening the regulatory and legal frameworks that underpin national efforts to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in agriculture and food chains, including the development of national response strategies

· Building the capacity of national surveillance systems to monitor and test for AMR in food systems

· Raising awareness among human health professionals, food safety authorities, farmers and others regarding AMR risks and how to manage them

Speaking at an event to mark the start of the joint effort, Anna Popova, head of Russia's Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-being, pledged that her country would bring its significant epidemiological research capacity to bear in support of improved regional cooperation on AMR.

"We cannot underestimate this threat, and must translate our words into action," Dr. Popova added, referencing a ground-breaking international resolution on AMR action made at last year's UN General Assembly.

FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo commended the Russian Federation for its strong commitment to strengthening global food security and nutrition including its backing of FAO's efforts to help countries confront antimicrobial resistance.

"AMR is intimately connected to health, medical care, safe food production systems and the environment. Leaving AMR unchecked would leave a dim vision of the future," she said.

FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva in a private bilateral meeting with Dr. Popova thanked her for Russia's contribution and praised the country for being the first major donor to support AMR-related work in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The first major push to escalate awareness of AMR in food and agricultural systems in the region will take place next month when FAO and Russia convene an International Conference on Food Safety and Risk Analysis (Sochi, 18-19 May).

The event will bring together more than 350 participants from government, the private sector and the scientific community as well as health and nutrition specialists to exchange experiences and best practices on nutrition and food safety including AMR.