September 22, 2016

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2016) – National Farmers Union (NFU) General Counsel and Vice President of International Relations Dave Velde represented the world’s farmers yesterday before a high-level meeting of the United Nations (U.N.) to discuss global antibiotic resistance. The meeting concluded with the 193 member countries of the U.N. adopting a declaration to fight antibiotic resistance and reduce the use of the drugs in agriculture and human medicine.

Velde, representing the World Farmers’ Organization (WFO), presented with world health and economic leaders on a panel titled “Addressing the multisectoral implications and implementation challenges of antimicrobial resistance in a comprehensive manner.”

“In the worldwide discussion on tackling antibiotic resistance, we need to promote cooperation among the different stakeholders to agree on a common approach and a clear understanding of the issue, while ensuring that producers are not disproportionately burdened in our solution to the problem,” said Velde, who was elected to the WFO board of directors earlier this year.

In many countries, there is no direct threat to consumers as clear food safety standards have been developed that prohibit the presence of antimicrobial residues in food products, Velde explained to the U.N. member nations. “Each country needs to develop national strategies for reducing antimicrobial use and resistance.”

“We must engage all stakeholders in this conversation towards constructive problem solving. The best way to engage the farm sector is to provide incentives for establishing public-private-producer partnerships to address the antimicrobial resistance issue,” he added.

NFU represented the only farmer organization on a panel involving the Prime Minister of Norway, the Minister of Health of Argentina, the Secretary of the Department of Health of the Philippines, President of the World Bank, and President and CEO of Consumer Reports.

“NFU is honored to be part of the collaborative solution, representing the world’s farmers and ranchers in this significant discussion. We will work to promote the need for pro-active, science-based solutions to address and reduce antibiotic resistance in humans and livestock,” said NFU President Roger Johnson.

The declaration to fight antimicrobial resistance marked only the fourth time in the U.N.’s 71-year history that it called on world leaders to address a health issue, commensurate with HIV/AIDS, chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, and Ebola.

The U.N. declaration on antimicrobial resistance can be read here.

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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