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Aviva Investors calls on policymakers to tackle drug resistance

Aviva, investors, drug resistance Aviva Investors has called on global policymakers to take "immediate action" in curbing the overuse of antibiotics and antimicrobials ahead of the United Nation's COP 15 Biodiversity Conference.

The global asset manager has suggested the formation of an international panel of scientists similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) "rigorously".

Mark Versey, chief executive officer at Aviva Investors, said: "The warning from G7 finance and health ministers that the antimicrobials we rely on to treat infections in humans, animals and plants will no longer be effective has enormous global implications."

Versey emphasised the significant role of investors in ensuring the companies they invest in take material consideration of antimicrobials and AMR, "however, this can only be effective if every group lays it part", he said. 

Research by Aviva investors suggests that not only the overuse of antibiotics causes drug resistance, but climate change and biodiversity loss are "accelerating existing antibiotic resistance and contributing to an increased spread of certain pathogens".

The asset management firm stated crucial frameworks like UN Sustainable Development Goals and the European Union's Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation lack attention to AMR.

Aviva Investors has further called for a ban on the use of microbial in agricultural supply chains for prophylactic treatment and growth stimulation.

And a more significant leadership role from the G7, G20 and G77 nations in promoting progress made under the UK G7 Presidency to strengthen antimicrobial development.

The firm has demanded a more robust standard setting and enforcement of water quality related to antibiotic-use wastewater.

While commenting on the increasing antibiotics' resistance, Abigail Herron, global head of ESG strategic partnerships at Aviva Investors, remarked: "We are…calling for the creation of a scientific body to oversee and manage this existential risk, to ensure it [the scientific body] is properly built into multilateral agreements…so it can be confronted head-on."

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