Taking antimicrobial resistance seriously

HE Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados and Co-Chair of the GLG

HE Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Co-Chair of the GLG

HE Philip Davis, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas

dr Christopher Fearne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health of Malta and a member of the GLG

HE Flemming Møller Mortensen, Minister for Development Cooperation and Minister for Scandinavia

cooperation of Denmark

HE Victoria Grace Ford, UK Development Secretary

dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization

The very existence of this Global Leaders Group shows that the world is acknowledging the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and is acting accordingly.

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Over a million people die each year as a direct result of AMR. Healthcare and productivity costs run into the billions each year. The threats grow. We need to drastically step up our actions to avoid dealing with an even bigger crisis.

The global response to AMR depends on collaboration between sectors. Therefore, political engagement in countries is crucial, including national budget allocations and technical capacity building to accelerate the One Health response.

In addition to implementing national action plans, we need to mainstream AMR into the policies, strategies and plans of all sectors and institutions that affect the issue. We need to create strong regulatory frameworks and enabling environments to incentivize good practices that reduce AMR emissions. And we need to increase private sector investment and public-private partnerships.

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UNEP is developing a report on the environmental dimensions of antimicrobial resistance to be presented at the 3rd Ministerial Conference on AMR in November. This report offers a selection of preventive and mitigating measures, such as the development of international standards for sanitation. These measures would then have to be implemented in national legal and regulatory frameworks.

Crucially, we must recognize that AMR cannot be addressed separately from the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste—all driven by unsustainable consumption and production patterns. That is why a One Health approach is so important. It can fight multiple threats at the same time.

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That’s all the details. The most important enabling factor is coordinated action at global, regional and national levels. This action starts with you, the political leaders. COVID-19 showed we were not ready for a global pandemic, despite science telling us that zoonoses are a growing threat. Let’s learn our lesson, heed the science about AMR, and do something now before the problem gets too big for us.

Many Thanks.

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