3rd Global High-Level Ministerial Antimicrobial Resistance Conference Kicks Off 24/11/2022
Assigned by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, H.H. Sayyid Taimur bin Asa’ad bin Tariq Al Said, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Oman inaugurated today (Thursday) the 3rd Global High-level Ministerial Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), which the Sultanate of Oman is hosting for two days, at kempinski Hotel.
The Conference is organized by the government of the Sultanate of Oman, represented by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources (AFWR) in cooperation with Gulf Health Council for the Cooperation Council States as well the Quadripartite Alliance formed by the United Nations to monitor antibiotic resistance - World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The opening ceremony commenced by an address of H.E. Dr. Hilal bin Ali Al Sabti, Minister of Health, where he highlighted at the beginning the global threat of AMR on health and development, noting that an estimated (1.3) million people around the world die directly due to bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in 2019. If no action is taken by 2050, that number could soar dramatically up to (10) million people annually, in addition to resulting in a 3.8% reduction in the total annual local production, and pushing (28) million people into poverty.
H.E. Dr. Al Sabti affirmed that the Sultanate of Oman has made significant progress in addressing this phenomenon. A national AMR strategy to join public and private sectors forces was developed in addition to establishing the national surveillance system. Moreover, steps achieved in this regard include the enhancement of diagnostic capacity and raising community awareness on AMR. The Sultanate of Oman has had a leading role in issuing a decision on developing a global strategy on infection prevention and control from the General Health Assembly 2022, Al Sabti elaborated
In his address, the Minister of Health gave emphasis to Muscat Ministerial Manifesto, which will be the key outcome of this Conference. He pointed out that, for the first time, it contains indicators for tracking antibiotic consumption in human, animal, and food health in order to follow up implementation of national and international plans as part of One Health framework.
For preparing Muscat Manifesto, a consultancy meeting was held with States Members of WHO and FAO that joined more than 100 countries. Views and remarks on the declaration were given during the meeting and it is hoped to be endorsed by the ministers and heads of delegations in this event, the health minister stated.
H.E. Dr. Saoud Al Habsi, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, stated in his remarks at the opening ceremony that the efforts that the Sultanate of Oman have undertaken in preventing and controlling prevalence of AMR centered in two fundamental areas.
The first is perceived in adopting policies, legislations, regulations, and specifications that ensure animal health and food security, in addition to promoting food risks system and implementing epidemiological surveillance programs.
The AFWR Minister added that the domain involves immunization and community awareness, rehabilitation, and building up human resources, laboratories, and food facilities. These efforts go beyond the field of biosecurity and food safety to the scope of food quality and nutritious foods, which play an important role in bringing about nutritional behavioral changes that contribute to combating antimicrobial resistance.
H.E. Dr. Al Habsi further pointed out that the second area addresses the operational procedures of banning the use of antibiotics growth promotors and some of animal treatment antibiotics, in addition to the awareness programs related to causes and effects of this phenomena in food security including raising awareness to follow good practices in all stages of production and processing of animal and plant-based foods, focusing on preventive medicine and vaccination policies to prevent animal epidemics and common diseases, and educating producers about applying biosecurity measures and improving management and production systems.
The AFWR Minister affirmed at the end of his remarks that an emphasis should be put on accelerating management of this global risk on all national and regional levels up towards international partnership. This requires a political commitment to implement international guidelines and standards and develop proper national legislations.
Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports in Netherlands H.E. Ernst Kuipers gave a speech pointing out that the rise of antimicrobial resistance remains one of the biggest, complex and growing global public health threats of our time. He added that misuse and overuse of antimicrobials are the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant pathogens. AMR threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections. It affects the health of millions of people. AMR directly threatens the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Kuipers highlighted the Netherlands efforts in addressing AMR that are observed in organizing the two previous Ministerial conferences on AMR. He further stressed necessity of international cooperation to counter AMR.
Furthermore, the opening ceremony of the third Global High-level Ministerial Conference on AMR shed light on the Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform on AMR, which was launched by the Quadripartite Organizations where they joined forces on this initiative to underscore the threat AMR presents to humans, animals, plants, ecosystems and livelihoods.
The AMR Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform aims to catalyze a global movement for action against antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by fostering cooperation between a diverse range of stakeholders at all levels across the One Health spectrum. It seeks to ensure a healthier, more sustainable and resilient present and future in which antimicrobials are preserved as critical lifesaving medicines accessible to everyone.
The Directors General of the four World Organizations and Deputy Prime Minister of Malta and the Global Leaders Group on AMR delivered speeches that emphasized the magnitude of the AMR threat that goes far beyond human health, threatening animal health and welfare, the environment, food and nutrition security and safety, and economic growth. They all agreed that to mitigate the rise of AMR, a One Health approach is needed that enables actors from different sectors to design intervention strategies that synergize and complement each other, resulting in one coherent global effort to tackle AMR.
Moreover, efforts of the Sultanate of Oman to address AMR was displayed at the opening ceremony.
The opening ceremony witnessed a high-level presence of number of their highnesses and Excellences from the Sultanate of Oman, in addition to the participation of more than (30) ministers and representatives from more than (40) countries worldwide representing human health, animal health and environment.
Furthermore, the conference joined directors general, presidents, or representatives of the Gulf Health Council, (WHO), (FAO), (WOAH), and (UNEP).
The agenda of the conference program includes ministerial plenary sessions on AMR and the political response, key challenges for the AMR response, and sharing solutions and innovations on the issue.
Moreover, the first day of the Conference contained four key parallel sessions moderated by renowned international speakers from specialized organizations and institutions. The sessions addressed integrated surveillance, country implementation, political action and financing, and research and development.
The second day will start by reviewing the four parallel sessions and their recommendations, followed by ministerial plenary discussion on effective collaboration and partnership that would be included within the conference report for follow up. Then all head of delegation will have the opportunity to state their views on AMR and the Muscat Ministerial manifesto.
The theme of the Conference this year is "The AMR: from Policy to One Health Action", that aims to accelerate tackling the antimicrobial resistance at the national, regional, and global levels, as well as to enhance international cooperation.
Several objectives are to be achieved through this conference including promoting the importance of political commitment to the One Health approach in addressing the AMR issue; highlighting the role of the environment in the spread of AMR and the importance of surveillance and monitoring of both AMR and antimicrobial use across all three domains (humans, animals and the environment), sharing successful examples in implementing the whole-of-government and One Health approaches to mitigate the threat of AMR, as well providing opportunities for collaboration and partnership between countries and international organizations to address AMR in the context of the SDGs.
The issue of AMR has considerable attention on the local and international levels. Hence, the Conference represents a valuable opportunity to leverage global experiences and conceptualize and submit solutions to international organizations and the UN. The Conference aspires to progress from policymaking to framing action and governance indicators to proceeding at the national, regional, and global levels.
Key outcomes of the Conference include the Muscat Manifesto on accelerating One Health action on AMR to meet the 2030 SDGs targets and agree upon the proposed indicators for following up Antibiotic Consumption. It is hoped that the Muscat Manifesto will be submitted for discussion at the upcoming UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AMR in 2024; recommendation on a global framework for a One Health surveillance system for AMR involving all aspects of the One Health; and secure the inclusion of AMR in the United Nation Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework.
It should be noted that the third Conference builds on the success of the two previous Ministerial Conferences held in the Netherlands in 2014 and 2019, which the Sultanate of Oman participated in with a delegation headed by the Minister of Health and a representative from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources.
The two conferences highlighted the collaborative work to tackle the risk of the spread of antibiotic resistance. During its active participation in these two conferences, the Sultanate of Oman expressed its desire to organize and host the 3rd conference, which was widely welcomed by the participating countries and organizations due to the Sultanate of Oman's reputation.
Conducting the event in the Sultanate of Oman represents a shift for the conference to include other regions beyond the European continent, exchange experiences, and benefit from the actions taken in those countries, which immensely helped to reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant microbes and their adverse effects on the health and economy.
Given the importance of the event, the Sultanate of Oman has been preparing to organize and host this conference in coordination with countries, organizations, and relevant scientific bodies for approximately one year in order to provide constructive content and outcomes that serve as a fundamental addition in countering the risks of AMR locally, regionally, and globally.
In this regard, a supervisory committee has been formed that includes their Excellences Ministers of Health, Agriculture, Fisheries, and Water Resources, and Information, as well the Chairman of the Environment Authority, Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry for Diplomatic Affairs, MOH’s Undersecretary for Health Affairs, and AFWR’s Undersecretary for Agriculture. The committee supervises the Conference’s organization procedures, adopting the conference program and outcomes, communicating with the Ministers of the participating countries, and discussing details regarding the Muscat Manifesto as a core outcome of the Conference.
Moreover, the organizing committee of the Conference was formed with the chair of the Director General of Diseases Surveillance & Control in the Ministry of Health (MOH), along with representatives from MOH, AFWR, and Gulf Health Council. The organizing committee coordinated all related activities, developed the programs and outcomes, and shared them with Member States in the WHO, the (FAO), and other parties involved in the Conference. The committee also includes sub-teams that are concerned with the various organizational, administrative, and media