Dr Haileyesus Getahun
Director, Global Coordination and Partnership and Quadripartite Joint Secretariat, WHO
The last year has seen several efforts to galvanise the AMR community towards seizing the unique opportunity of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Meeting (HLM) on AMR scheduled for 2024.
The President of the General Assembly has appointed Barbados and Malta as co-facilitators to present options and modalities for the HLM in collaboration with the quadripartite organisations for AMR (FAO, UNEP, WHO and WOAH) with support from the Global Leaders Group (GLG).
The Quadripartite Joint Secretariat on AMR, which coordinates the global multisectoral AMR response and provides secretariat to the GLG, is working closely with the co-facilitators in supporting optimal inputs from the human, animal, agri-food and environment sectors.
Encouraging efforts to catalyse outcomes at the HLM
The GLG suggested seven areas and a meeting of civil society organisations released key messages for UN member states to consider. The third Ministerial Conference on AMR has resulted in the Muscat Ministerial Manifesto with AMR targets and was endorsed by 47 countries.
Efforts are ongoing to propose more targets for consideration at the HLM. The Quadripartite, with the GLG and other stakeholders, is finalising the investment case for AMR across sectors. Disruptive and catalytic solutions to address the antibiotic pipeline and access crises are being sought to further augment existing push and pull mechanisms with strong emphasis on equitable access. The fourth Ministerial Conference on AMR is now lined up to be held after the HLM to enable stocktaking of the outcomes of the HLM.
A transformational outcome from the HLM is dependent on intergovernmental negotiations.
Overcoming geopolitics will determine outcomes
A transformational outcome from the HLM is dependent on intergovernmental negotiations. The outcomes of the high-level meetings on universal health coverage, tuberculosis and pandemic prevention, preparedness and response that were held in 2023 were heavily criticised for not being ambitious to change the course of action.
AMR is a complex challenge with conflicted interests that transcend borders such as trade and geopolitics. These are important considerations for the global AMR community to overcome.
Unified and aligned voices are critical
There has been major progress over the last few years to facilitate a unified voice among the global AMR stakeholders. The global consensus on the need to reduce the use of antimicrobials in the agrifood system and the Muscat Manifesto targets are cases in point.
The AMR Multistakeholder Partnership Platform could offer an opportunity to align voices ahead of the HLM. The global AMR community has to coalesce its voice so that the outcome of the HLM will be transformational and not a mere collection of recycled commitments.