The CGIAR Antimicrobial Resistance Hub was launched in February 2019. Hosted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the CGIAR Antimicrobial Resistance Hub applies a One Health approach to support efforts in low- and middle-income countries to mitigate risks of agriculture-associated antimicrobial resistance. In line with the CGIAR antimicrobial resistance strategy that recognizes the need for evidence linking antimicrobial resistance in agriculture and public health outcomes, the hub supports the development of evidence-based interventions that are locally relevant and applicable. Research on how to best implement and scale workable solutions is embedded in capacity development activities and supported through advocacy for enabling policies. This research rests on effective transdisciplinary partnerships.
The challenge of antimicrobial resistance
Antimicrobials are among the most important tools available to medical and veterinary professionals for curing disease and improving welfare. However, their use to combat common infections in people and animals is increasingly failing, thereby posing a major threat to global development, including food and nutrition security, and resulting in greater losses of life. The World Bank estimates that antimicrobial resistance could lead to a drop in annual global gross domestic product by more than one trillion United States dollars annually by 2030 and a 7.5% reduction in global livestock production; investments of USD 6–8 billion annually to address this issue could mitigate this loss.
However, at present, in the absence of investments, the antimicrobial resistance problem grows rapidly worse, rather than better. Large quantities of antimicrobials are used in livestock and fish — a reasonable estimate is on the order of 100,000 tons annually and growing fast in low- and middle-income countries — often in a suboptimal way. Humans, livestock and fish excrete unmetabolized drugs, leading to environmental contamination, including water systems. While the main driver of antimicrobial resistance emergence is the selection of resistant bacteria following use of antibacterial compounds, use in agriculture to control plant disease also has a potentially significant link, the severity of which is currently unknown.
The greatest challenges and burdens of antimicrobial resistance will be felt in low- and middle-income countries by poor producers and consumers. While these countries face the greatest demand for increased food production, with rapidly growing populations, they also tend to have poorer knowledge among actors throughout the process, lack of regulations and efficient surveillance, and closer interaction of livestock, fish, people and antimicrobials.
Solutions to antimicrobial resistance
To address the antimicrobial resistance challenge, research on practical solutions appropriate for and effectively applied in low- and middle-income countries is critical. The solutions will require combining technical, institutional and policy innovations and leveraging the contributions of different sectors and different public and private actors. The antimicrobial resistance challenge will require effective partnerships to support solutions at global, national and local levels.
With its mandate to improve livelihoods of poor people, improve food and nutrition security and improve natural resource management through agriculture and food research, CGIAR is ideally positioned to tackle agriculture-related antimicrobial resistance risks in low- and middle-income countries and to develop, test and promote solutions to mitigate risks. Through the hub, CGIAR mobilizes international partners to support national governments and key actors in identifying, implementing and improving local and national solutions. The hub also facilitates collaborations and new research partnerships and enables effective communication on agriculture-associated antimicrobial resistance.
CGIAR's antimicrobial resistance strategy
CGIAR’s strategy to address antimicrobial resistance builds on five pillars of research and interventions:
- Understanding knowledge, attitude, practices and incentives for antimicrobial use or reduction in use and the role of formal and informal markets
- Researching antimicrobial resistance transmission dynamics at the human–animal–environmental interface in different agricultural systems
- Designing and evaluating interventions and incentives to reduce and more effectively use antimicrobials in agriculture in low- and middle-income countries
- Supporting evidence-based policy dialogue for antimicrobial surveillance and antimicrobial resistance strategies
- Capacity development
CGIAR research programs and centres involved in the CGIAR Antimicrobial Resistance Hub
- CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health
- CGIAR Research Program on Fish
- CGIAR Research Program on Livestock
- International Food Policy Research Institute
- International Livestock Research Institute
- International Water Management Institute
- Provide research evidence to support for antimicrobial resistance advocacy and policymaking
- Provide a technical platform for microbiological analysis, antimicrobial resistance tests and residue testing
- Host an agri-food system antimicrobial resistance information platform and long-term biobank
- Convene stakeholders on antimicrobial resistance to discuss solutions and manage partnerships
- Assess policies, incentives, regulations and practices that reduce the use of antimicrobials
- Organize training workshops on antimicrobial resistance for CGIAR and national partners