Academies urge action on drug resistance and development policy

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Copyright: Flickr/Downing Street

Speed read

  • Presidents of the G8+5 science academies have met in India and issued policy advice
  • They are calling for more research and monitoring on rising drug resistance
  • And they are pledging to provide expertise and scientific evidence for policymaking on post-2015 development

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[NEW DELHI] Science academies from eight developed and five emerging economies have urged developing countries to take a lead in tackling increasing drug resistance and pledged to support policymaking for sustainable development.

In two joint statements released last week (29 May) they noted the need for new drug discovery and development to tackle growing drug resistance worldwide, and they pledged to support policymaking for sustainable development through inter-academy and research collaboration.

In the statement on drug resistance, the academies say there is a need for enhancing research and development capacity in developing countries; regular monitoring of drug sensitivity; tracking resistance in real-time; carrying out regular surveys on the impacts of antibiotics released into the environment; and promoting drug regulation policies.

On sustainable development policy after 2015, the deadline for meeting the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), they pledge to proactively engage with international, national and regional policymakers with an eye on "providing objective expertise" and ensuring "scientific rigour to gathering evidence".

The two statements came out of an earlier meeting of the presidents of science academies from the Group of Eight + Five countries (G8+5), along with those from the African Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, and the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology.

The G8 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, while the '+5' includes Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

The meeting — which took place in New Delhi, India in March — marked the first time the group had met outside the G8 countries, says Krishan Lal, president of the Indian National Science Academy, which hosted the meeting.

Daya Reddy, president of the Academy of Science of South Africa, says the meeting highlighted the importance of the North-South collaborations in solving global challenges.

"The statements issued by the academies further bring attention to policymakers that the role of science, technology and innovation in sustainable development is crucial, and provide a roadmap academies can adopt to support policymaking and implementation efforts by governments in the area of sustainable development," Reddy says.

Berhanu Abegaz, executive director of African Academy of Sciences, tells SciDev.Net that on policy support for post-2105 development agenda the "academies should play a very important role … being near enough to work with their governments, but keeping a critical distance not to be influenced by the politics of government".

Link to statement on drug resistance

Link to statement on sustainable development policy