Increasing resistance to antibiotics is a grave threat to human health and sustainable development across the world. Already, 700.000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections and, unless we manage to contain the problem, projections suggest the number could rise to 10 million deaths annually by 2050. In such a scenario antimicrobial resistance would become the largest cause of death globally, undermining many medical advances and costing the world an estimated 100 trillion USD. Some governments are starting to respond to this threat with national action plans but as resistance knows no borders, coordinated global action is urgently required.
The good news is that the issue has finally started to attract some high-level attention. On September 21, the UN General Assembly organised an intergovernmental meeting that resulted in an ambitious political declaration, aimed at reducing excessive use of antibiotics in humans and animals while ensuring access to those who really need it, and stimulating research and innovation with the hope of finding new effective antimicrobial treatments in the near future.
This seminar looked at how antimicrobial resistance risks undermining several of the Sustainable Development Goals and discussed what concrete action is needed now, based on the UN declaration and WHO’s global action plan. It strove to serve as a useful introduction to the topic for those concerned with other areas of global development policy and practice, while those already working on this issue will be able to contribute to the discussion on next steps and get some fresh updates about the UN process.
- Lennarth Hjälmåker, Swedish Ambassador for Global Health
- Otto Cars, Professor of Antibiotic Resistance at Uppsala University and Founder of the ReAct network
- Håkan Björkman, Manager, UNDP Global Fund Partnership
- Christina Greko, SVA – Swedish National Veterinary Institute
The discussion was moderated by Henrik Hammargren, Executive Director of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation.
The event forms part of the seminar series “Implementing Agenda 2030”, jointly organised by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and UNDP Sweden. Antimicrobial resistance is a major threat to Goal 3 on health, but it also severely challenges the achievement of several other goals as shown in the paper Antimicrobial resistance – A threat to the World’s Sustainable Development.