Antimicrobial Resistance

Amid the escalating impact of antimicrobial resistance, the Global Leaders Group calls on UN Member States to take bold and concrete action


Geneva, 4 April 2024 – Results from an economic study confirm that the already staggering human toll of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will be compounded by a catastrophic hit to the global economy unless bolder and more urgent action is taken, the Global Leaders Group (GLG) on AMR said today.

AMR is already a leading cause of death globally, contributing to nearly 5 million deaths, 1 million of which occur in children under the age of five, mainly in low- and middle-income countries.

Uncontrolled AMR is expected to lower life expectancy and lead to unprecedented health expenditure and economic losses

The economic study shows that without a stronger response there would be an average loss of 1.8 years of life expectancy globally by 2035. The study also estimates that AMR would cost the world US$ 412 billion a year in additional healthcare costs and US$ 443 billion per year in lost workforce productivity.

The tools to tackle AMR exist, but must be dramatically scaled up

The economic study shows that if implemented globally, a package of cross-sectoral AMR interventions is expected to cost an average of US$ 46 billion per year but will bring a return of between US$7 and US$13 for every US$1 spent by 2050.

We have the tools to mitigate the AMR crisis and these data point to a devastating future if we do not take bolder action now”, says Chair of the GLG on AMR, Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados. “That is why the Global Leaders Group is making recommendations and proposing targets to drive a robust global response to AMR and save millions of lives.

The Global Leaders Group calls on UN Member States to act boldly

In a new report released today, the GLG calls on political leaders to make concrete and ambitious commitments at the high-level meeting on AMR to be held at the United Nations General Assembly on 26 September.  The GLG report, “Towards specific commitments and action in the response to antimicrobial resistance” urges UN Member States to ensure that adequate, predictable, and sustainable financing is available from domestic and external sources to address AMR, including to tackle the dwindling research and development pipeline for new antibiotics. The GLG proposes that existing financing instruments expand their scope to include AMR and increase investments to support implementation of multisectoral National Action Plans, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

The report notes how accountable, effective and functional multisectoral governance is critical to coordinate a global response to AMR and successfully implement interventions. To achieve this, the GLG proposes an independent panel be established to monitor and report on science and evidence related to AMR to inform advocacy and action and formalizing the Quadripartite Joint Secretariat to facilitate collaborative and coordinated action against AMR.

The GLG stresses the need for improved quality of data on antimicrobial resistance and use through surveillance and monitoring and recommends that countries strengthen human resources and crucial infrastructure capacity. The report highlights the need sustainable, sector-specific, and integrated surveillance systems and the use of data for action.

Because prevention is a cornerstone of the response to AMR, the GLG recommends that countries should implement strategies to prevent infections across human and animal health and food, plant and environmental ecosystems to reduce the need for antimicrobials.

Global targets are needed to drive further action on AMR

To drive global and national action on AMR, the GLG report proposes several outcome-oriented targets to accelerate progress:

  • By 2030, reduce global human deaths due to AMR by 10%.
  • By 2030, ACCESS[1] group antibiotics comprise at least 80% of overall human antibiotic consumption.
  • By 2030, reduce the quantity of antimicrobials used in the agri-food system globally by at least 30-50% from the current level;
  • By 2030, eliminate the use of medically important antimicrobials for human medicine in animals for non-veterinary medical purposes, or in crop production and agri-food systems for non-phytosanitary purposes.

World leaders have a unique opportunity at the High-level Meeting on AMR in September to save lives, livelihoods and economies by taking action against this global existential threat”, said Dr Chris Fearne, Vice Chair of the GLG and Deputy Prime Minister of Malta.  “We hope that this report will help inspire them when they meet in September”.

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For inquiries, please contact the Global Leaders Group secretariat at [email protected]


The Global Leaders Group (GLG) on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) was established in 2020 following the recommendation of the Interagency Coordination Group on AMR (IACG) with the mission to advise on and advocate for political action for the mitigation of drug-resistant infections through responsible and sustainable access to and use of antimicrobials. Secretariat support for the GLG is provided by the Quadripartite Joint Secretariat (QJS) on Antimicrobial Resistance, a joint effort by the Quadripartite organizations (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).

The GLG is chaired by Her Excellency the Prime Minister of Barbados, Ms Mia Amor Motley; the Vice Chair is the Honourable Dr Chris Fearne, Deputy Prime Minister of Malta. GLG members include government ministers, academics, and influential figures from the private sector and civil society, as well as the principals of the Quadripartite organizations.

The GLG is implementing its rolling action plan across six priority areas: 1) Sustained political action on AMR; 2) Transforming human health, animal health, food, plant and environmental ecosystems with a focus on infection prevention and control and responsible use; 3) Advocacy for improved surveillance and monitoring of antimicrobial use and resistance across sectors, including to guide target-setting and interventions and assess their impacts; 4) Increased mobilization of internal and external financial resources, especially for national action plan implementation in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs); 5) Innovation across sectors to secure a sustainable pipeline of antimicrobials (particularly antibiotics), vaccines, diagnostics, waste management tools, and safe and effective alternatives to antimicrobials, and ensure equitable access to these products; and 6) Advocating for evidence-based action to address environmental aspects of AMR.

[1] Access group antibiotics have activity against a wide range of commonly encountered susceptible pathogens while also showing lower resistance potential than antibiotics in the other groups: WHO AwARE classification of antibiotics for evaluation and monitoring of use, 2023.

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