“There Is a Strong Need for Improved Efficiency and Efficacy of Existing Medicines and Interventions to Protect Health from Climate Change” States Jules Mitchel of Target Health During Panel Discussion at on Climate Change and Children’s HealthNovember 18, 2016
Seeking to highlight the impact of climate change on children’s health, the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development in partnership with the United Nations Association of America (UNA-USA) Council of Organizations (COO) and the Institute for Life Sciences Collaboration hosted a panel discussion at the UN Church Center on Thursday November 17, 2016. The event was divided into three segments including a climate panel with remarks by Marc Jourdan of
GFDD on the outcome of the recent UN Climate Conference in Marrakesh and Jon Lourie of Duane Morris LLP who considered the degree to which climate change is tackled under US environmental law. The second part of the debate looked at the impact of climate change on children’s health through the experiences of four speakers, Sarah Graham, who talked about climate change and its impact on chronic health, Richard Lutes, who provided an overview of the challenges of developing
therapeutics for children, Jules Mitchel who presented the view on this issues from the perspective of the FDA and biotech industry, and finally Larry Cass who spoke of the challenges of underwriting health risks.
Aaron Etra, Chair of UNA USA COO and Rick Flath, the President of
theInstitute for Life Sciences Collaboration provided the words of welcome to a crowded auditorium of over 60 attendees before handing over the floor to Jeff Brez, Chief of NGO Relations at the Outreach Division of the UN’s Department of Public Information who introduced the topic of the session and highlighted the interconnection between climate change and public health, before warning participants not to blur the line between the two, stating that “we need to make sure
not to make threats about diseases that are not climate linked”.
Marc Jourdan, GFDD UN Programs & Outreach Manager next presented the outcome of the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which took place in Marrakesh, Morocco from Monday November 7 to Friday November 18, 2016. During his talk Jourdan commented on the significance of the entry into force on November 4 for this COP of
the Paris Climate Agreement which is universal in its scope, having been initially adopted by 195 countries in December 2015 in Paris.
Jourdan explained that the focus of the discussions at this meeting had been on financing climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. Reminding parties that “by 2020, about $5.7 trillion will need to be invested annually in green infrastructure, much of which will be in today’s developing
world” he highlighted that there was a clear need for further investment by the private sector, and that the $100 billion annual goal of the international community within the UNFCCC that is usually referenced is “only a small piece of the $5.7 trillion puzzle”. That being said, Jourdan stressed that the conference had witnessed many positive developments including the fact that “22 countries and the European Union had pledged to
double funding for clean energy research over the next five years, to $30 billion annually”.
Providing apologies for the absence of the World Health Organization speaker, Jourdan then briefly
skimed through Dr. Campbell-Lendrum’s presentation pointing out the shocking statistic that “ by 2030 there will be 250,000 additional deaths per year due to health risks from climate change”.
Jon Lourie of Duane Morris LLP reported on the degree to which climate change is tackled under US environmental law focusing in particular on the regulatory restrictions of the Environmental Protection Agency and how these apply in practice within
specific industries. Turning to the issue of antibiotics and its interconnection with climate change he remarked that their use “may increase methane emissions in animals” thus contributing significantly to the emission of greenhouse gases within the earth’s atmosphere.
Beginning the second segment of the panel with a personal story detailing the impact of climate change on her own health and putting a human face on the victims of this global
issue, Sarah Graham a student from Quinnipiac University told the audience how she fights cystic fibrosis on a daily basis, a medical disorder which causes severe damage to the lungs.
Sarah’s story was followed by a panel of three experts from the medical and pharmaceutical industry including Richard Lutes, President of Angam Scientic who discussed the challenges of therapeutic treatment of children noting that “diseases in children are often
different from their adult equivalents. The processes underlying growth and development might lead to a different effect and response to drug unseen in adults”.
His presentation was accompanied by that of Jules Mitchel, President of Target Health Inc. who stressed “the need for improved efficiency and efficacy of existing medicines and interventions to protect health from climate change”.
Finally, Larry Cass Senior Vice
President, of USI Insurance Services, LLCspoke of the challenges of underwriting health risks explaining that “environmental hazards have subtle effects on human health” as “they rarely cause immediate illness the way epidemic disease germs do”. He concluded that “The trend in pharmaceutical treatments for these conditions will be one of the first lines of defense and will continue to add to the increased trend in pharmaceutical
About the United Nations Association of the United States (UNA-USA)
UNA-USA is a membership organization dedicated to educate the American people about the United Nations. For 70 years UNA-USA has worked to accomplish its mission of informing, inspiring and mobilizing Americans to support the principles and vital work of the UN, strengthening the UN system, promoting constructive US leadership in that system and achieving
the goals of the UN Charter. Forming a strategic alliance with the UN Foundation in 2010, UNA-USA continues to pool talents to increase public education and advocacy on the work of the UN.
About the UNA USA Council of Organizations (COO)
The COO is a coalition of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and local groups of organizations with interests in education, social justice, labor, sustainable development, energy and climate, millennium
development goals, human rights, health and women’s issues that all share the common goals of making the American public more knowledgeable about global issues and strengthening the U.S. – UN relationship.
Marc Jourdan, UN Programs Manager, Global Foundation for Democracy and Development
Vice Chair of UNA USA Council of Organizations
Dr. Campbell-Lendrum, Team Leader, Climate Change and Health Team Leader, World Health Organization
Jon Lourie, Partner, Duane Morris
Jules Mitchel, Ph.D., President, Target Health
Richard Lutes, MD, President, Angam Scientic
Larry Cass, Senior Vice President, USI Insurance Services, LLC