News in Brief 14 September 2016 (AM)

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Good farm hygiene and animal health practices can greatly reduce the need to use antimicrobial medicines. Photo: FAO/Sergei Gapon

Agricultural "action plan" launched to help stop "superbugs" spreading

An "action plan" to help stop the spread of medicine-resistant "superbugs" through the global food supply has been launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The UN agency said the plan would help countries develop their own strategies for tackling the spread of antimicrobial resistance, as governments prepare to debate the emerging threat at the UN General Assembly next week.

The increased use and abuse of antimicrobial medicines in both human and animal healthcare has contributed to an upsurge in the number of disease-causing microbes that are resistant to medicines traditionally used to treat them, like antibiotics.

According to FAO’s Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance, "antimicrobial medicines play a critical role in the treatment of diseases of farm animals and plants."

"However, the misuse of these drugs, associated with the emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant micro-organisms, places everyone at great risk.”

More "direct democracy" is needed worldwide says UN expert

Governments and parliaments around the world need to practice more "direct democracy" on behalf of their people.

That's according to the UN Independent Expert on the promotion of democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas. 

He was speaking ahead of the International Day of Democracy, marked each 15 September.

The UN expert said that democracy "entails much more than periodic voting" and too often, lobbyists in national capitals were influencing policy and legislation, rather than the electorate.

He called for more consultation on the part of parliamentarians saying that "a feeling of disenfranchisement in many countries" had resulted in "apathy, absenteeism and distrust".

Athens named World Book Capital for 2018

Athens has been named the World Book Capital for 2018, with a view to making literature more accessible to all, including migrants and refugees.

The Greek capital was the recommendation of the Advisory Body of the UN Cultural Agency, UNESCO, which praised the quality of its literary activities, supported by a vibrant book industry.

The proposed programme includes writers' events, concerts, thematic exhibitions, poetry readings and workshops for publishing professionals.

Cities designated as World Book Capital undertake to promote books and reading that is accessible to all.

Athens has seen a rise in its migrant and refugee population due to conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

It's becomes the 18th city to receive the world capital designation, which next year will be held by Conakry, in Guinea, West Africa.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 3'03″

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