Journal Articles

The Regulation of Planetary Health Challenges: A Co-Benefits Approach for AMR and WASH

Philippe Cullet
Lovleen Bhullar

Environmental Policy and Law

July 8, 2022

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) represents a global public health challenge. It has been examined through various angles, but the link between AMR and access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) or lack thereof has received little attention. Both AMR and WASH relate directly to the realization of the rights to health, water, and sanitation. In addition, both can affect the enjoyment of the right to environment. AMR is particularly complex from a rights perspective. Access to medicines contributes significantly to the realization of the right to health. At the same time, AMR affects the poorer sections of society who have disproportionately less access to medicines and to WASH. Rights, equality and justice should thus be at the centre of the development and implementation of law and policy concerning AMR and WASH. As we celebrate 50 years of international environmental law, it is crucial to ask some hard questions concerning the inter-sectional and cross-sectoral dimensions of AMR and WASH from the point of view of rights, equality, and justice. Linking the two would bring various co-benefits that the prevailing silo mentality has prevented.

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