Combating antibiotic resistance together

Bern, 16.11.2023 – The international community will be turning its attention to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) from 18 to 24 November. Their aim in doing so is to raise global awareness of the AMR issue among the public, professionals and policymakers alike.

Four international organisations are coordinating the World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW):

  • the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH)
  • the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and
  • the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

The week-long WAAW programme will see various activities conducted all over the globe on the theme of ‘preventing antimicrobial resistance together’. Switzerland will be putting a particular focus in this year’s WAAW on actions to reduce the development and the transmission of antibiotic resistance. The various Swiss Federal Offices which are participants in the country’s StAR strategy will be offering support and promotional and information material to parties wishing to get involved and launch their own AMR initiatives.

What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria no longer respond or are less responsive to antibiotics. The emergence of resistant bacteria is a worldwide problem for people and animals alike. Micro-organisms today are becoming increasingly resistant not only to individual antibiotics but also to multiple antibiotic classes (which is known as multi-resistance).

Infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria are difficult or even impossible to treat with antibiotics. The main cause of this growing resistance is the overuse and misuse of antibiotics. Increasing globalisation also means that such resistance is steadily spreading around the world. As a result, the treatments available to date are becoming less effective, leading to a rise in the incidence of illness and fatalities.

Antibiotic resistance affects people, animals, agriculture and the environment. To combat the growing resistance problem with appropriate actions, what is needed is a multilateral collaboration that is based on the ‘One Health’ approach.

Learn more about antibiotic resistance and the WAAW 2023 in our interviews with experts from human and veterinary medicine.

Further information is also available on

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A global action plan since 2015

The urgent nature of this threat has been acknowledged at the international political level: in 2015, a global action plan was launched to combat the growing problem of resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobials. One of the plan’s prime objectives is to improve the awareness and understanding of antibiotic resistance through effective communication, education and training. 2015 also saw the establishment of the annual WAAW global campaign, which is designed to further publicise this key health issue.

The situation in Switzerland

The Swiss Federal Council launched the Swiss Strategy on Antibiotic Resistance (StAR) in 2015. Since then, Switzerland has also been addressing the issue across a range of sectors (under the One Health approach). A key element in the strategy involves monitoring antibiotic resistance and the use of antibiotics nationwide, in humans, livestock, pets and the environment. The findings of such monitoring have been published every two years since 2016 in the Swiss Antibiotic Resistance Report (SARR).

The StAR Swiss Antibiotic Resistance Strategy’s One Health Action Plan for 2024-2027 is currently being developed in collaboration with various partners and interest groups from the research, political and business and industry fields.

Last modification 15.11.2023

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