Director-General's Office

7th Meeting of the Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Director-General of the World Health Organization

Divonne-les-Bains, France
30 May 2018

My brother José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,

My sister Monique Eloit, Director General of the World Organization for Animal Health,

My sister Dame Sally, my brother Junshi Chen, ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. It is an absolute pleasure to be here with you today for this very important meeting.

I would like to particularly welcome the newly-appointed members of the IACG:

Dr Anthony So of the USA;

Dr Fajer Al Salloom of Bahrain;

Dr Mesrak Mekonnen of Ethiopia; and

Ms Sunita Narain of India.

Unfortunately, timing did not permit all the nominated members to join this meeting, except for Dr So. Welcome.

As you know, we estimate that AMR accounts for 700 000 deaths every year, and by 2030 it could cost the global economy up to 3.4 trillion U.S. dollars in lost GDP.

The truth is, we don’t know the full extent of this problem.

But what we do know is that the threat of antimicrobial resistance affects humans, animals and our ecosystem.

The use of antibiotics in the animal industry can lead to the development of drug-resistant microbes which can be transmitted to humans through the food chain.

The Interagency Coordination Group on AMR has an important responsibility to shape the measures that we need to take collectively to fight antimicrobial resistance.

When we last met in Bangkok in January, you had some comments about the work we needed to do to take this important agenda forward.

We heard you well. Since then we have taken several steps.

First, we have strengthened the Secretariat, adding several staff to make sure it has the appropriate human resources.

Second, within WHO we have elevated AMR to the cluster level, with oversight by an Assistant Director-General.

Third, we have worked at addressing the funding needs and have raised 1.5 million dollars of the 2 million needed, with 500 thousand coming from WHO and 1 million from the Wellcome Trust – and I’d particularly like to thank Jeremy and the Trust for their generosity.

And fourth, we have been working with our colleagues from FAO and OIE to strengthen our tripartite partnernship.

Since January, the three DGs have met once in person and again virtually, and our teams have hammered out a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the tripartite response on AMR. We will sign that MOU today.

I am happy to be joined today by my brother Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO, and my sister Monique Eloit, Director-General of OIE, to demonstrate our commitment to this important public health challenge, and to a OneHealth approach.

Working together is the only way to avoid the huge human, social, economic and environmental costs of antimicrobial resistance.

Together, we will promote sustained technical, societal and political action at the highest levels of leadership.

Together, we will facilitate the engagement of all stakeholders, including the private sector, government and civil society.

Together, we will continue to ring the alarm bell, to raise awareness and to engage communities in playing their part.

Together, we will foster disruptive innovations.

And together, we will support the development and implementation of national action plans on AMR. More than 100 countries have developed their action plans so far, and a further 67 are in progress.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Addressing AMR is a key priority for WHO, and is one of five platforms in our new General Programme of Work, which was approved by the World Health Assembly just last week.

The GPW – our 5-year strategic plan – says clearly that to fight AMR, WHO will strengthen its collaboration with all sectors, through the IACG and the tripartite.

The foundation of the plan is universal health coverage.

But we cannot achieve universal health coverage unless everyone has equal access to vaccines that prevent infections, as well as quality antimicrobials that can deliver effective treatment when they become sick.

Poverty should not be a barrier to that access, nor should the costs of paying for care force people towards substandard or falsified medicines.

Doctors must have access to affordable diagnostics, as well as to data on local and regional resistance trends to ensure they are able to prescribe the right treatment for their patients.

Progress towards UHC is vital for tackling the threat of AMR. Strong health systems built on the foundation of people-centred primary care are vital, not only for ensuring access to precious medicines, but for preventing the wastage of resources.

Thank you all for your support. I look forward to continuing working with all of you to combat AMR, and to achieve health for all.

Thank you.