As part of its alignment with the UAE’s Year of Sustainability, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), in partnership with the sub-regional office of the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), hosted the Fourth Veterinary Medicine Scientific Forum under the slogan ‘One Health Approach for Sustainability’. The two-day Dubai forum aims to explore methods and solutions for sustainably improving animal health, thereby enhancing animal wealth and maximizing its contribution to food security.
The two-day forum, which concluded yesterday in Dubai, was attended by His Excellency Eng. Essa Al Hashmi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Sustainable Communities Sector and Acting Assistant Undersecretary for the Green Development and Climate Change Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Dr Mohamed Ali Al Hosani, Representative of the WOAH Sub-Regional Office in Abu Dhabi, Dr Marco Tibbo, Representative of the Regional Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries and Yemen for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in the United Arab Emirates, and Dr Arvi Lee Wellingham, Head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine at the United Arab Emirates University.
Additionally, the scientific forum welcomed a group of speakers and experts from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the World Organisation for Animal Health, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the British Ministry of Agriculture, the Gulf Cooperation Council Health Council, the United Arab Emirates University, the Central Veterinary Medicine Research Laboratory, and a group of experts from international companies ZOETIS, ELANCO, and BOHERINGER, as well as speakers from the veterinary authorities of participating countries.
The forum was attended by over 150 participants representing the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority, local authorities in the country, the Emirates Racing Authority, a group of students from the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine at the United Arab Emirates University, several international and local companies in the private sector, and representatives of various health and veterinary authorities from countries in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Tunisia, and Lebanon.
The forum comes in response to the requirements of the WHO Global Strategy to reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance and strengthen countries’ capacities for the optimal implementation of national action plans (NAPs) on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
The Fourth Veterinary Medicine Scientific Forum covers two significant themes: addressing the spread of antimicrobials and the international legislation regulating animal health. In addition, a workshop was held on the ANIMUSE program of the World Organisation for Animal Health – a database of antimicrobial usage in animals monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO).
This new global database system for antimicrobial use in animals (ANIMUSE) was developed based on the latest information technology applications and will ultimately have a significant impact on the development of policies and treatments to combat the leading causes of irresponsible misuse of these vital therapeutic substances, which leads to the spread of disease-causing agents resistant to antimicrobials among humans and animals, as well as causing environmental pollution.
In his opening speech, His Excellency Eng. Essa Al Hashmi emphasized that animal wealth is a significant pillar of global food security. It is a source of about 34% of the essential protein for human health. He pointed out that hundreds of millions of people worldwide depend on animal wealth to face climate change due to the adaptability of some animals to climate shocks. He also noted that animal wealth would be a significant pillar for discussing food security and climate change topics during the COP28 forum, which the UAE is hosting this year, placing a responsibility on the UAE to cooperate with various stakeholders to find solutions to enhance this wealth sustainably and with minimal impact on climate and the environment.
He added that animal wealth would play a pivotal role in discussions surrounding food security and climate change at the COP28 forum hosted by the UAE later this year. This places a responsibility on the UAE to collaborate with diverse stakeholders to devise sustainable solutions for enhancing animal wealth while minimizing the impact on climate and the environment.
HE Al Hashmi said: “The contribution of animal wealth and its products to food security, both locally and globally, is no longer solely reliant on their numbers and quantities, but also on the health and safety of animals wealth and its products, particularly considering the increasing threats faced by this wealth worldwide.”
HE Al Hashmi added: “Animal wealth and ensuring its development and sustainability are among the targets of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to achieve food security and sustainability in the UAE and ensure the continuity of food supply chains. Veterinary medicines, national plans for antimicrobial resistance, animal health, and animal welfare are among the main pillars in developing the animal production system and protecting animal health,” noting that the UAE has put in place a comprehensive package of legislation to protect animal wealth.
HE Al Hashmi continued: “As part of our contribution to finding solutions to the challenges of preserving the health of animal wealth against epidemic and infectious animal diseases, we were keen to host this forum in conjunction with the Year of Sustainability in the country. Through this event, we aim to raise awareness among both private and government sector workers about the importance of cooperation in rationalizing the use of antibiotics to ensure the quality and safety of food products of animal origin. And in the context of our efforts to address these challenges, we strive to exchange knowledge and expertise with various stakeholders, promote international cooperation, and implement the best practices in animal health management.”
HE Al Hashmi concluded: “This forum provides an opportunity to discuss the latest scientific research and technological advancements in veterinary medicine, antimicrobial resistance, and animal health legislation at the global level. It also serves as a platform for networking and collaboration between professionals, policymakers, and industry representatives, ultimately contributing to the sustainable development of the animal wealth sector and enhancing food security in the UAE and the region.”
In his speech, Dr Mohamed Ali Al Hosani, Representative of the WOAH Sub-Regional Office in Abu Dhabi, expressed his deep appreciation for the close cooperation and productive partnership between the organization and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment in the United Arab Emirates in organizing this event, which serves as a living example of constructive partnerships between international organizations and member states in service of their common goals.
For her part, Dr Kaltham Kayaf, Acting Director of Animal Health and Development Administration at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, said: “This event confirms the Ministry’s efforts in the field of One Health sustainability and the integration of roles and responsibilities between governmental, private sectors and international organizations. The Ministry also seeks through this event to consolidate the role of the private sector and international organizations as one of the main pillars of the government in leading the innovative One Health approach. We also aim to ensure the sustainability of the One Health approach and apply the best global practices in reducing antibiotic use by reviewing successful pioneering experiences at the international level.”
During the agenda of events, the Fourth Veterinary Medicine Scientific Forum discussed a variety of topics, including “Veterinary Product Safety,” “Supporting Access to Veterinary Medicines through Good Regulatory Practices,” “Patterns of Antimicrobial Resistance in Common Foodborne Bacteria,” “Antimicrobial Resistance,” and “Vaccination Technologies.”
Representatives from participating entities also reviewed their pioneering experiences in various fields related to promoting animal health, veterinary care, and proper handling of veterinary products to maintain public health and safety, such as storage and distribution methods, veterinary product registration, automation systems, reducing administrative burdens, and other topics.
The forum also aims to achieve several vital objectives, such as accelerating “One Health” procedures regarding antimicrobial resistance to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, regional commitment to reducing the total quantity of antimicrobials used in the agricultural food system and environment, developing the necessary plans to ultimately discontinue the use of medically important antimicrobials for human medicine in animals, and affirming that international solidarity is the optimal solution to address antimicrobial resistance.