The UK’s International Reference Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance gains UN recognition

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has designated the UK’s International Reference Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) as an FAO Reference Centre for AMR.

The International Reference Centre for AMR, supported by the Fleming Fund, was launched at the 2nd Call to Action on AMR event in Ghana last November. The Reference Centre pulls expertise from 3 agencies of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), these being the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). This expertise is used to support low and middle income countries (LMICs) by providing scientific and technical expertise, some diagnostic services and laboratory and field training.

The United Nations, through the FAO, have recognised the Reference Centre’s efforts in providing capacity development on AMR investigations and antimicrobial use (AMU) surveillance and as such have designated it a FAO Reference Centre for AMR. This recognition not only highlights the UK’s global approach to tackling AMR but further emphasises the importance of using a one-health approach to this threat. The interdependencies of human, animal and the environment relies on efforts across the sectors and the new FAO Reference Centre of AMR will contribute significantly to this.

Since the establishment of the Reference Centre in November 2018, strong working relationships with academic institutes and several countries have been established, including Bangladesh and Ghana. The Reference Centre also works in close partnership with Public Health England through the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference & Research on AMR and Healthcare Associated Infections. The recognition by FAO will further cascade the expertise available and encourage other LMICs to call upon this expertise.

The UK is taking a leading role in the global fight against AMR and it is great to see our efforts across the one-health sectors recognised. The expertise and support offered through the UK’s International Reference Centre on AMR provides low and middle income countries with the guidance and resources necessary to build capacity and to identify resistance quickly and effectively.

Prof Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer of England

This is fantastic news for the UK International Reference Centre and recognises the excellent work it delivers in tackling AMR, as well as extending the UK’s international reach. This work is vital to tackle the threat AMR poses to the global economy and society. The UK recognises AMR as a priority issue and we know that this challenge requires truly global collaboration.

Lord Gardiner, UK Biosecurity Minister

I congratulate the UK International Reference Centre for AMR and warmly welcome the recognition of its expertise by the United Nations. This demonstrates the depth of experience and expertise available in the collaborating agencies and how they enhance partner countries’ capability in reducing antimicrobial usage and tackling the threat of AMR.

Christine Middlemiss, UK Chief Veterinary Officer

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