The Union supports United Nations’ declaration to tackle the looming global threat of antimicrobial resistance

Today, The Union’s Executive Director José Luis Castro responded to the UN’s landmark declaration agreeing to help fight the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) worldwide.

 “Antimicrobial resistance poses an unprecedented threat to public health—a threat that if left unchecked could reverse a century of progress in modern medicine and kill millions around the globe. The fact that the UN has convened a high-level meeting during this year’s General Assembly to address AMR puts the issue on the international agenda so that all the world’s people will now understand it as a critical health, economic and political threat. 

“With today’s declaration, we increase the momentum and power needed to meet the challenge. While there is no single solution to AMR worldwide, multiple and interconnected solutions must be identified, pursued and implemented. In particular, tuberculosis – which if left unchecked will result in 1.5 million more people developing the disease over the next three years – must remain at the cornerstone of solving this threat. The Union has been involved in this issue at a strategic and fundamental level, both in formulating policy and working on the frontline. It was clinical research from The Union and its partners that proved critical in under-pinning the World Health Organization’s recent recommendation of a shortened multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment regimen – nine months from the previous 24-month standard.

“To make this momentous UN decision effective, we must move quickly to ensure the new regimen is rolled out and starts to benefit patients. The global community can no longer respond to the great threat posed by AMRs through isolated approaches. It will take a concerted, coordinated effort – one spearheaded by the United Nations – to ignite a significant improvement in AMRs and have a real impact.”

About Antimicrobial Resistance:

When bacteria, viruses and parasites change in ways that render ineffective the medications—or antimicrobials—used to cure the infections they cause, they are considered resistant. In 2014, WHO surveyed the growth of anti-microbial resistant germs around the world for the first time, and reported the serious threat they pose.

About the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union):

For nearly 100 years, The Union has drawn from the best scientific evidence and the skills, expertise and reach of its staff, consultants and membership in order to advance solutions to the most pressing public health challenges affecting people living in poverty around the world. With nearly 17,000 members and subscribers from 156 countries, The Union has its headquarters in Paris and regional offices in Africa, the Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, North America and South-East Asia. The Union’s scientific departments focus on tuberculosis and HIV, lung health and non-communicable diseases, tobacco control and operational research. For more information see

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Executive Director of The Union, José Luis Castro, elaborates on his participation at the UN and the issue of antimicrobial resistance in his latest Director's Corner