The intersectoral coordinating mechanism (ICM)

The problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria affects many parts of society – health care, public health, veterinary medicine, animal health, food production, the environment and research. In order to be effective, efforts need to be coordinated.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden and the Swedish Board of Agriculture have a joint mandate by the government to lead a national intersectoral coordinating mechanism against antibiotic resistance. The ICM was established in 2012 and currently includes representatives from 25 authorities and organisations in public health, animal health, food, environment and research. The work is based on the government mandate and the Swedish strategy for work against antibiotic resistance 2020–2023.


According to the government mandate, the following authorities should contribute to the ICM

  • The Swedish Work Environment Authority
  • The Swedish eHealth Agency
  • The Public Health Agency of Sweden
  • Formas (Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development)
  • Forte (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare)
  • The Health and Social Care Inspectorate
  • The Swedish Board of Agriculture
  • The Swedish Chemicals Agency
  • The National Board of Trade Sweden
  • The National Food Agency, Sweden
  • The Swedish Medical Products Agency
  • The County Administrative Boards
  • The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency
  • The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
  • Programme Advisory Board Strama
  • ReAct
  • The Swedish Society for Communicable Disease Prevention and Control
  • The National Board of Health and Welfare
  • The National Veterinary Institute
  • Sida (The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency)
  • The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions
  • The Dental and Pharmaceutical Benefits Agency
  • The Swedish Research Council
  • VINNOVA (Sweden’s innovation agency)
  • The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

What the ICM does

Action plan with a One Health focus

The ICM has jointly drawn up an action plan for the efforts against antibiotic resistance during the period 2021–2024. The action plan has a clear One Health focus, meaning that the problem of antibiotic resistance needs to be dealt with jointly because resistant bacteria can be transferred between people, animals and food, as well as spread through the environment.

A brief report on the annual work is sent to the Swedish Government Offices in December.

How the ICM function

The work is prepared in a small group that meets monthly. This so-called core group includes nine authorities: the Work Environment Agency, the Public Health Agency, The Swedish Board of Agriculture, The Swedish Medical Products Agency, The National Food Agency of Sweden, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the National Board of Health and Welfare, The National Veterinary Institute and the Swedish Research Council. The entire ICM group normally meets twice a year, each spring and autumn.

Safeguarding antibiotics

The ICM has a common communication strategy and in 2015, the communication effort “Safeguarding antibiotics” was launched. The goal of the initiative is to raise awareness of antibiotic resistance. The initiative includes the website Safeguarding antibiotics as a simplified introduction to the complex problem of antibiotic resistance. The website also provide accessible, compiled and coordinated information about antibiotic resistance and infection prevention from a One Health perspective. Another goal of the website is to make it easier for different actors to communicate about the issues.

Another important objective of the initiative has been to promote the recognition of antibiotic resistance as a societal issue and to highlight the need for concrete measures, primarily through active participation of the ICM in the annual World Antimicrobial Awareness Week and European Antibiotic Awareness Day. The Public Health Agency of Sweden, the Swedish Board of Agriculture and other organisations in the ICM have over the years contributed with material and support to others who want to acknowledge to the week.

Antibiotic Forum

In connection with the European Antibiotic Day in November, the ICM arranges the Antibiotic Forum meeting, which brings together experts and others who work with antibiotic resistance. The aim is to exchange experiences and stimulate dialogue between the sectors of human and animal health, food and the environment.