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Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy

United Nations prepares to tackle antibiotic resistance


On September 21, 2016, antibiotic resistance will be discussed by heads of state from around the world at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. This high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance is the culmination of years of research, dialogue, and action on the part of institutions, organizations and individuals working to maintain sustainable access to effective antimicrobials across the globe. Not only will this meeting direct the future global response, the attention it generates has the potential to expand awareness of antibiotic resistance around policy-making chambers and dinner tables alike.

CDDEP and the Global Antibiotic Resistance Partnership (GARP) are actively engaged with the U.N. on this topic. On June 29, Ambassador Gómez Camacho, Mexican Permanent Representative to the U.N. and lead for the high-level meeting, invited CDDEP to speak to the U.N. Member States as a part of a civil society panel on antimicrobial resistance. CDDEP Research Associate Molly Miller-Petrie was joined on the dais by Consumer Reports, the Wellcome Trust, The Pew Charitable Trusts, ReAct, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Earthjustice and Doctors Without Borders. Each organization presented their view on what should be included in the final outcome document, after which member states were able to ask questions of the experts directly. A similar panel was conducted with members of industry the following week.

As the only participating organization with a major focus on low- and middle-income countries, CDDEP was also invited to speak to the Group of 77 Member States plus China, representing 134 low- and middle-income member countries. On July 18, CDDEP Director Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan and Molly Miller-Petrie met with the group at the U.N. Headquarters to address the particular challenges of combatting resistance in low-resource settings.

What would CDDEP like to see as a result of this high-level meeting? Dr. Laxminarayan and a host of illustrious co-authors laid out a detailed vision in a Lancet commentary. Their primary recommendation is the formation of a U.N. High-Level Coordinating Mechanism on Antimicrobial Resistance. This mechanism would raise awareness about lack of access to antibiotics and resistance; create, monitor and report on global and national targets; ensure financing for national action plans and global coordination; and support member states in implementing national action plans to improve antimicrobial stewardship and access.

It is time to seize the opportunity created by the U.N. session to ensure sustained access to effective antibiotics for the long term. CDDEP is focused on making sure that happens.

CDDEP will be counting down to the General Assembly, so stay tuned for future updates and further information.

Image via sanjitbakshi (CC BY-SA 2.0)