Citing Rise in Death Rate, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Multi-stakeholder Hearing Leadership Crucial to Find Solutions for Antimicrobial Resistance

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, to the Multi-stakeholder Hearing on the 2024 United Nations High-level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance, in New York today: 

I thank His Excellency Mr. Francois Jackman and Her Excellency Ms. Vanessa Frazier, Permanent Representatives of Barbados and of Malta, for their work to facilitate September’s high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance.  I also thank the Antimicrobial Resistance Global Leaders Group chaired by Her Excellency Prime Minister Motley of Barbados, and the Quadripartite organizations for their continuous support.

We meet at a moment of profound global uncertainty. New and protracted conflicts, escalating debt, and the triple planetary crisis of climate, biodiversity loss and pollution are preventing investments in sustainable development.  On the heels of COVID-19, public health systems continue to face growing pressures.  New resistant pathogens are on the rise, and as a result, antimicrobial resistance is jeopardizing global gains in health care.

In 2019, nearly 1.27 million deaths annually were directly linked and 4.9 million deaths associated with antimicrobial resistance.  By 2050 the potential impact is estimated at 10 million annual deaths, dwarfing that of COVID‑19.

The implications to human, animal and planetary health are massive — with food security and the broader economy also affected.  The cost of inaction for millions of people, especially in low- and middle-income countries, will be catastrophic.

Recognizing the scale of the challenge requires bold political commitment, access to current antibiotics and sustainable financing and investments from all sources.  Progress will also hinge on multi-sector cooperation, technology, innovation and research.  Advocacy, data and accountability mechanisms are also critical for public engagement to be informed of preventive measures.

Today’s multi-stakeholder hearing is an important step to prepare for the high-level meeting on antimicrobial resistance on the margins of the General Assembly in New York in September.  September’s high-level meeting comes after nearly a decade of increased awareness and action on antimicrobial resistance.

World leaders signalled their commitment to curb the spread of infections resistant to antimicrobial medicines in 2016, with a Political Declaration that underscored the need for collective action.  Since then, high-level meetings hosted by the Netherlands and the Sultanate of Oman have helped enhance international cooperation and build political will.

The UN system also mobilized political attention through its Global Health Engagement Strategy, positioning antimicrobial resistance as one of the three main pillars.  Learnings on antimicrobial resistance through a one health approach have also facilitated critical shifts to tackle cross-sectoral challenges, building the case for prevention of disease emergence, at the source, and achieving equity and health for all.

We must use this momentum to also finalize the Global Pandemic Treaty currently under discussion.  Your views today will help to achieve a better understanding of the current dynamics of antimicrobial resistance, at different levels of governance, that will shape a coordinated response that delivers for all.

Leadership will be critical to find solutions to multidimensional challenges and to harness the engagement of the private sector, civil society, women’s networks, among others.  I, therefore, encourage all of us to use this meeting to broaden the conversation to elevate the political significance of the antimicrobial resistance challenge, reignite the urgency and the necessary actions to ensure that we leave no one behind.

I look forward to your concrete recommendations that will help us to drive action on antimicrobial resistance, informing Member States’ deliberations ahead of September.  Together, let’s confront the antimicrobial resistance threat and build a future of health, prosperity, and environmental sustainability.

For information media. Not an official record.