The United Nations Member States met for the 71st General Assembly in New York this week. A high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), for which DRIVE-AB had prepared a policy brief for participants, was held on 21 September. This historical meeting marks the fourth time that the UN General Assembly has held a high-level meeting for a health issue, a fact which is indicative of the urgency and seriousness of the antimicrobial resistance crisis, which is a “fundamental threat” to global health and safety, according to UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon.
Margaret Chan, director general for the World Health Organization, called this meeting a milestone for AMR, producing incredible political momentum. Some of the key elements of high-level panel discussions were the need for global governance, measurable and ambitious targets, accountability and an implementation schedule. Margaret Chan stated that “the emergence of bacterial resistance is outpacing the world’s capacity for antibiotic discovery,” a fact which the DRIVE-AB consortium hopes to remedy by recommending feasible and implementable reward models to drive antibiotic research and discovery.
Before convening for the meeting all 193 Member States agreed a declaration to combat the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria through a global response similar to the framework used to combat climate change. In two years, groups including UN agencies will provide an update on the superbug fight to the UN secretary general.