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United Nations High-Leve Interactive Dialogue on Antimicrobial Resistance, 29 April 2021

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Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time. As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics and other antimicrobial medicines become ineffective and infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat- increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the ease with which infections can spread, threaten global health security and destabilize economies, lives and livelihoods. AMR is a rising pandemic and challenges the effective delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, at least an estimated 700,000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases. If no action is taken, drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths each year by 2050 and damage to the economy as catastrophic as the 2008-2009 global financial crisis; and by 2030, AMR could force up to 24 million people into extreme poverty2. As a present and growing pandemic, AMR may be considered a central part of future pandemic preparedness.

In September 2019, the UN high-level meeting on universal health coverage (UHC) adopted a political declaration which called for a discussion on AMR during the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly. Originally scheduled for March 2020, this High-Level Interactive Dialogue has been rescheduled for April 29, 2021 after being postponed due to COVID-19. 

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The General Assembly High-Level Interactive Dialogue on Tackling AMR is an important opportunity to strengthen political commitment, take stock of progress, recommit to actions, and build back better from COVID-19 by agreeing further practical steps that can effectively address challenges to tackling AMR as part of future pandemic preparedness through a One Health approach while supporting the delivery of the SDGs.

Download the programme and key documents on this page.