This week marks one year since world leaders met at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City in 2016 and unanimously committed to tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The risks of not doing so were clear: a recent report estimated that if AMR continued to spread at its current rate, there would be up to 10 million deaths globally by 2050.
On Thursday, leaders gathered once again, in a less formal setting near the UN, to discuss what progress has been made one year later. “We are not where we should be,” said Professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer of England, during her keynote speech kicking off the meeting.
Davies said that while there was significant pressure to move quickly on the issue after the 2016 UNGA, the movement stalled for about six months, due in part to changes in United Nations leadership. “I think everyone is committed,” Davies told TIME in an interview after the event, but the formation of a coordination group to move the progress forward took longer than intended. “A lot of people felt we had lost momentum. In practice there was still a lot going on, but it wasn’t so visible.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told TIME earlier in the week that while the consensus on the threat of AMR is a step forward, countries need to be taking more action. “What is missing is a buy-in from countries,” he said. “We have to work very, very hard at the country level to really go into action.”