17. November 2021

Following appointment of first Board, ICARS takes first steps as an independent organisation

Following two years of rapid growth and development, ICARS is excited to introduce our new Board of Directors and announce our independence as a self-governing organisation. The transition marks an important step in our mission to unite governments, foundations and organisations, to co-develop and implement sustainable, context-specific solutions to tackle antimicrobial resistance in low- and middle-income countries.

Since our inception in spring 2019, ICARS has been organisationally embedded in the Danish Ministry of Health, governed by a Steering Committee composed of deputy permanent secretaries from five Danish ministries. With their valued guidance, and scientific advice from our Technical Advisory Forum, ICARS has developed an ambitious strategic agenda across four interconnected pillars.

Beginning with five employees in 2019, the team now consists of 23 dedicated employees, from 13 different countries, with a headquarters in Copenhagen but working across the globe.

As the supreme governing body of ICARS, the Board of Directors holds both strategic and financial responsibility and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to support ICARS’ mission. The current Board of Directors, appointed by the Danish Minister for Health, will operate until the end of 2023. In light of the close cooperation, the Tripartite+ and the World Bank have each been invited to appoint an observer to the board.

Magnus Heunicke, Minister for Health, Denmark 

“I am proud of how far ICARS has come since inception – getting the first projects up and running even during the very difficult conditions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the guidance of this distinguished Board of Directors I am confident that ICARS will continue to excel in its important mission to co-develop sustainable solutions to tackle AMR in low- and middle-income countries. Together with the Board, Denmark invites other countries to join us in taking co-ownership of this crucial organisation.”

Introducing our Board of Directors

Board Chair, Rector Henrik Wegener, University of Copenhagen          

“My research and experience have made clear the need for a one-health approach to tackling antimicrobial resistance. I am really looking forward to chairing the ICARS Board of Directors and providing governance to mobilize the important and ambitious ICARS agenda.”

Henrik Wegener brings more than thirty years’ experience in epidemiology of infectious diseases. His research on antimicrobial resistance and infectious Diseases from a One Health perspective has contributed to the development of national, European and global programmes for monitoring and controlling antibiotic resistance in the farm-to-fork chain. In his former position at the National Veterinary Serum Laboratory Henrik Wegener was co-responsible for the establishment of DANMAP, the Danish Programme for surveillance of antimicrobial consumption and resistance in bacteria from food animals, food and humans, which today still is seen globally as a role model for surveillance in a One Health perspective.

Isatou Jallow, Founder and Executive Director of Africa Catalyzing Action for Nutrition (AfriCAN)

“As a nutritionist, I am pleased to be part of the ICARS board and supporting its mission as AMR and malnutrition are both cross cutting challenges, requiring multi-sectoral collaboration and solutions. I am looking forward to working on the board to among other things,  put nutrition on the agenda of AMR and AMR on the agenda of nutrition”.

As founder and Executive Director of AfriCAN and a former World Food Programme (WFP)  Chief of Gender, Isatou brings 30+ years of policy, strategy and implementation experience to the ICARS board. She has worked across sectors to establish strategic partnerships, build and coordinate multi- sectoral and multi-stakeholder platforms. She continues to work to position nutrition and women at the centre of development at all levels.

Jimmy Smith, Director General at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

As the whole world grapples with the urgent challenges of COVID 19  and climate change, we should not let the risk of Antimicrobial Resistance fall off the table. It is also urgent and compelling everywhere but particularly in developing countries where efforts to respond lag to those in developed countries with greater financial and institutional means. It is in this context that I am very pleased to be see ICARS coming to fruition as it will be a shot in the arm to the responsiveness of low and middle income countries on AMR. I am equally pleased to be asked to serve on ICARS inaugural Board

As Director General of ILRI, Jimmy Smith brings considerable experience in livestock research for development. Before joining ILRI, he worked for the World Bank, leading its global livestock portfolio. Earlier in his career, as ILRI’s regional representative for West Africa, he led the development of integrated research promoting smallholder livelihoods through animal agriculture and built effective partnerships among stakeholders in the region.

A fourth Board Member will be confirmed in the near future.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a complex issue and one of the greatest threats to health, society, and economies worldwide. Under the governance and guidance of our new board, we are excited to expand our portfolio of projects and activities working with in-country experts to build on National Action Plans and tackle AMR.