"Diversity and delectables": My experience at the 2019 Fleming Fund Delivery Partners Event

Emmanuel Kabali, from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, shares his experiences from the 2019 Fleming Fund Delivery Partners Event.

At this year’s event, there was a sense of newness, energy and determination

Emmanuel Kabali, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

In November 2019, I had the privilege, and the pleasure, to attend the Fleming Fund’s Delivery Partner Event in Laos. This was an exciting opportunity to catch up with the Fleming Fund team and meet with fellow partners to discuss our progress and future plans for tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The first important item to note is that the spectrum of people attending has changed from the first Partners Event held in London in November 2017. Having attended all the 3 Partners Events held so far, I always look forward to meeting people we share common concerns with on the threat of AMR to our livelihoods and the global community. This time around, participants included not only high-level experts planning to make massive interventions across the world, but also experts from various institutions, most of whom were beneficiaries of the 3 year-long effort of the Fleming Fund project.

The diversity of this guest list led to exciting cross-fertilization of ideas. Coming from one of the 3 global tripartite agencies (FAO, WHO and OIE), I see the Partners Event as a unique opportunity to meet with colleagues from different regions working within the tripartite. Their experiences provide a wealth of options to solving problems since, from a global perspective, we all implement actions towards the same goals.

At this year’s event, there was a sense of newness, energy and determination which was brought about by the focus on delivery, coordination and resource optimization. It was great to see the appreciation and knowledge of what other partners were doing. The eagerness to learn more was impressive. We identified various opportunities to coordinate and collaborate and it was clear the teams were going to pursue these ideas further.

In my workplace, food is a big part of what we do, and this year’s event did not disappoint in this respect! From the local fruits served during health breaks, to the more detailed traditional dishes served in the hotel, and right up to the carefully selected mixed menu served at the special event hosted at the UK Ambassador’s Residence, food was certainly a big componant of the Partners Event. The need for continued and properly functioning food safety and quality systems are a key element in containing AMR, and so the importance of our work in this area cannot be overemphasised. Quality food is not just delightful, it’s a policy priority.

Having an opportunity to meet with a high-level UK diplomat, born in my country of origin, was a most memorable bonus. In addition, the effort made by the host country and government in ensuring that we all made it to the event is commendable as it shows the courtesy shared among the focus countries and the implementing partners. The Laos culture was also an interesting new addition to my experiences in ‘amazing Asia’.

Following this event, I am optimistic that the future actions will both be well-informed and less challenging. We all seem to have learnt from the past and strengthened our teams through our experiences. Networking and forward-looking exercises are key to ensure our success in the years ahead!

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