Prince Charles is meeting with global experts today (12 May 2016) to discuss the next steps for tackling antimicrobial resistance in humans and animals.

A long-standing advocate of sustainable agriculture, he is speaking at a conference at the Royal Society that draws together senior leaders, experts, academics and ambassadors from around the world.

Topics under the microscope include antibiotic resistance and the link between human and animal health, barriers to improved practice and farming.

Chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said: “It’s has long been my personal goal to encourage responsible use of antibiotics in human and animal health, and the agriculture, farming, fisheries and environmental sectors.

“When we use antibiotics inappropriately, we are increasing the opportunities for the bugs to develop resistance – the biggest threat to human health today.”

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest threats to public health with the latest figures showing the number of patients across the European Union infected by resistant bacteria is increasing.

To help raise visibility of the growing problem, Public Health England launched the Antibiotic Guardian initiative in 2014.

Pharmacists top the professions committing to become Antibiotic Guardians after making 22% of the total pledges.

Today’s event is one of a series of meetings leading up to the UN General Assembly meeting on antimicrobial resistance in New York in September.

For decades, humans and animals have relied on antibiotics and other antimicrobials resulting in bacteria developing resistance to the drugs.

If this continues, it is estimated that by 2050 the world will face an additional 10 million deaths due to antibiotic resistant infections at a cost of £66 trillion to the global economy.

Chief veterinary officer, Nigel Gibbens said: “Today’s conference not only highlights the need to tackle the significant and growing threat of antimicrobial resistance, but also the international commitment to tackling it.

“It’s only by working together that we can reduce the development of AMR.”