News and Opinions  –  2019

ReAct’s 2019 wrap up and 2020 expectations

Share the article


2019 has been an important year in the global response to Antimicrobial Resistance. The recommendations put forward by the UN Interagency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance this year now needs to be acted upon and implemented. We see some first moves towards strengthening global governance on Antimicrobial Resistance. Other major important steps forward has been led by processes of the United Nations, but also by countries, organizations and individuals. In 2020 Governments and other actors should grasp the existing momentum and ensure that this progress continues.

Highlights from 2019

For ReAct these are some of the important steps to highlight for 2019:

Momentum needed for 2020 – 4 areas to prioritize

Building on these important strides forward and using current momentum, the following  areas should be prioritized by governments and other relevant actors in 2020:

1. Driving action on global level

There is now a great opportunity for Governments, UN agencies and other international organizations, civil society, private actors and other actors to act on implementing the IACG recommendations and mobilizing the resources and finances required for it.

2. Tracking AMR under Sustainable Development Goals

With a promising  prospect of the inclusion of an AMR-specific SDG indicator in place next year, Governments, UN agencies and policy makers will be able to track progress on AMR and build understanding of how AMR affects the health, wellbeing and development for all.

3. Implementing National Action Plans

Despite good progress on developing National Action Plans, few countries have secured funds to fully implement them. Mobilising funds for this work nationally and internationally should continue to be a strong priority for all actors. Not least national champions who play an important role in coordinating the multi-sectoral work to implement national action plans and best placed to voice the exact funding needs on the ground.

4. IACG recommendations and global governance

The recommendations from the UN Interagency Coordination Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) were presented to the UN Secretary-General in April and included in his report back to the General Assembly. The IACG recommendations lay out tangible directions for managing AMR that complement and build upon commitments already made in the WHO Global Action Plan and the 2016 UN Political Declaration on AMR. The first steps towards establishing a Global Leaders Group have been taken by the WHO, FAO and OIE who form the tripartite, and further shaping of the governance structures are ongoing. Focus should now be on implementation by all relevant actors. For this strong political leadership will be required.

2020 hopes – for progress on AMR

Universal health coverage and AMR: continue the dialogue

The links between Universal Health Coverage and Antimicrobial Resistance has been made more clearly during 2019, including in the UN General Assembly resolution on Universal Health Coverage which notes the recommendations by the IACG. Countries have committed to enhanced cooperation at the national, regional and global levels to address antimicrobial resistance by the inclusion of it in the UHC resolution and the notion of “look forward to the discussion thereof during the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly”.

In 2020 we hope to see:

A continued dialogue between actors at global and national levels involved with work on AMR and implementation of UHC, respectively, building on the mutual benefits of strengthening health systems and access to essential medicines.

Sustainable Development Goals – track AMR through new SDG indicator

For the 2020 Comprehensive Review of the SDG indicator framework an AMR-specific indicator was proposed by the custodian agency World Health Organization. At the meeting in October, the UN Inter-Agency Expert Group on the SDG (IAEG-SDG) tentatively accepted the proposed indicator for SDG target 3.d: Reduce the percentage of bloodstream infections due to selected antimicrobial resistant organisms. The definite decision will be taken at the meeting of the UN Statistical Commission in March 2020.

In 2020 we hope to see:

Progress on AMR being tracked through the new SDG indicator contributing to governments and policymakers understanding of how AMR affects the health, wellbeing and development for all.

Implementation of National Action Plans on AMR

From the self-reported information, 117 countries have developed and an additional 36 are in the process of developing a National Action Plan. However, only 26 countries report to have funding and monitoring mechanisms in place.

In 2020 we hope to see:

  • Increased focus on the implementation of the National Action Plans.
  • That national champions embrace implementation coordination across all sectors through a One-Health approach.

Financing to meet needs

  • Dedicated AMR funding continue to remain low. Emerging finance mechanisms, such as the multi-partner trust fund for AMR, to fund activities of global coordination in relation to the IACG recommendations are promising, but there is a need for much more dedicated funds to meet the needs at country level to implement National Action Plans.

In 2020 we hope to see:

Funding to meet the actual needs being mobilized at national, regional and international level.

More to read on ReAct’s work in relation to mentioned processes

Anthony So, head of ReAct North America and Otto Cars, founder ReAct is wrote a letter to UN Member States.

ReAct has actively engaged in the public consultation processes and contributed to the IACG recommendations. In 2019, the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC) convened over fifteen civil society partners to discuss, develop and endorse a joint response to the public consultation on the IACG recommendations. We have urged governments to demonstrate leadership in the processes of setting up the governance mechanisms needed for advancing the global response.

Antibiotic Resistance Coalition response to public consultation on the IACG recommendations.

Open letter to UN Member States from former IACG members Anthony So and Otto Cars.

In 2019, ReAct continued to stimulate discussions on antibiotic resistance as a global development problem. The report When the Drugs Don’t Work: Antibiotic as a Global Development Problem presented concrete examples of the underlying and complex aspects of antibiotic resistance and its impacts across multiple SDGs. ReAct also pointed out that inclusion of specific AMR indicators into SDG targets and indicators are critical for global commitments and action. During the public consultation held by the IAEG-SDG on the proposed changes to the SDG indicators, ReAct together with 51 ARC members and allies contributed to submissions supporting the AMR-specific indicator.

ReAct and Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation Report: When the Drugs Don’t Work: Antibiotic as a Global Development Problem.

AMR-specific indicator proposed for monitoring Sustainable Development Goals.

Three minutes on antimicrobial resistance and universal health coverage, ReAct Africa Conference.

For the 2019 UN General Assembly, all nodes of ReAct had prepared content to integrate antibiotic resistance into the policy discussions surrounding UHC and Sustainable Development and delivered these messages through social media. In advance of the High-Level Meeting on UHC, ReAct’s policy brief for AMR and Universal Health Coverage was released. This was built on feedback on attendees and policymakers at ReAct-Africa’s and South Center’s conference in July 2019.

ReAct Policy Brief: Antimicrobial resistance and universal health coverage – What’s the deal?

Three key takeaways from the ReAct Africa conference.



More news and opinion from 2019