Effective Global Action on Antibiotic Resistance Requires Careful Consideration of Convening Forums

7 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2016 Last revised: 11 May 2016

See all articles by Zain Rizvi

Zain Rizvi

Yale University, Law School, Students

Steven Hoffman

York University; Harvard University

Date Written: May 2016


There have been calls from academics and policymakers to take global collective action to address the growing health security threat of antibiotic resistance (ABR). One suggestion has been the use of international law – which formally represents the strongest possible mechanism through which states can commit to each other. While much of the literature has focused on what should be done to address ABR, less has focused on how or where such collective action should be facilitated. This article evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of different global political forums that may be used to develop an international legal agreement for ABR. Four forums that seem plausible for developing such an agreement: (1) self-organized venues (e.g. G7); (2) the World Health Organization (WHO); (3) the World Trade Organization (WTO); and (4) the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Each forum comes with its advantages and drawbacks which, taken with the complexity of the issue of ABR, suggests that an effective response may best be coordinated through multiple forums. This would allow for a multi-sectoral approach that creates a universal scheme and ensures strong national enforcement.

Keywords: policy, policymakers, global, collective, action, antibiotic, resistance, ABR, international, law, forum, political, multi-sectoral, advantages, drawbacks

Suggested Citation

Rizvi, Zain and Hoffman, Steven, Effective Global Action on Antibiotic Resistance Requires Careful Consideration of Convening Forums (May 2016). Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Vol. 43, No. 2, 2015; Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2016-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702540

Zain Rizvi

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Steven Hoffman (Contact Author)

York University ( email )

Global Strategy Lab
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
+1-416-736-2100 ext 33364 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.globalstrategylab.org/people/steven-hoffman

Harvard University ( email )

Department of Global Health & Population
665 Huntington Avenue, Building 1, Room 1104
Boston, MA 02115
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/steven-hoffman/

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