The History and Future of Planetary Threats | Financing Preparedness

November 3, 2021
12:00 – 1:30 p.m. ET
WEBINAR

In this webinar, Dr. Amanda Glassman, Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development joined Dr. Wilmot James, Senior Research Scholar and Chair of the Center for Pandemic Research at ISERP, to discuss the urgent need to finance preparedness and how to mobilize significant resources for global health security. They were joined by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, economist, University Professor, and the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia; Dr. Chinwe Ochu of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control; and Dr. Natalia Pasternak, visiting professor at the Public Administration School at Fundação Getúlio Vargas, São Paulo, and research fellow at University of São Paulo.

Health experts around the world have warned for years that countries, regional bodies, and global institutions must invest more in critical capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats—and the COVID-19 pandemic lays bare how the current global health architecture was not prepared when the threat emerged. Multiple recent reports from an array of leading global health and finance experts have concluded that the world needs a new multilateral financing mechanism, or Fund, for global health security and pandemic preparedness. International bodies and governmental leaders around the world have stressed the need for increased investments in global health security and pandemic preparedness.

This event was hosted by Columbia University’s Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, in partnership with the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia and the Academy of Political Science.

In the History and Future of Planetary Threats series, the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) convenes meetings to examine modern-day catastrophic risks and hazards, whether natural, accident or deliberate, in the following domains: geological, biological, epidemic infectious disease, environmental, chemical, extreme weather, food security, radiological and nuclear, or combinations of these. By catastrophic we understand to mean classes of events that could lead to sudden, extraordinary, widespread disaster beyond the collective capacity of national and international organizations and the private sector to control, causing severe disruptions in normal social functioning, heavy tolls in terms of morbidity and mortality, and major economic losses; in sum, events that may well cause a change in the direction of history. Nuclear falls into a class of its own, because it can result in the annihilation of life on planet earth and the end of history as we know it.

Speakers

AMANDA GLASSMAN is executive vice president and senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and also serves as chief executive officer of CGD Europe. Her research focuses on priority-setting, resource allocation and value for money in global health, as well as data for development. Prior to her current position, she served as director for global health policy at the Center from 2010 to 2016, and has more than 25 years of experience working on health and social protection policy and programs in Latin America and elsewhere in the developing world. Glassman holds a MSc from the Harvard School of Public Health and a BA from Brown University, has published on a wide range of health and social protection finance and policy topics, and is editor and coauthor of the books What's In, What's Out: Designing Benefits for Universal Health Coverage (Center for Global Development, 2017), Millions Saved: New Cases of Proven Success in Global Health (Center for Global Development 2016), From Few to Many: A Decade of Health Insurance Expansion in Colombia (IDB and Brookings 2010), and The Health of Women in Latin America and the Caribbean (World Bank 2001).

JEFFREY D. SACHS is a University Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he directed the Earth Institute from 2002 until 2016. He is also President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development. He has been advisor to three United Nations Secretaries-General, and currently serves as an SDG Advocate under Secretary General António Guterres. He spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, where he received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. He has authored numerous bestseller books. His most recent book is The Ages of Globalization: Geography, Technology, and Institutions (2020). Sachs was twice named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders and was ranked by The Economist among the top three most influential living economists.

CHINWE LUCIA OCHU is a medical doctor with over 24 years’ experience as a clinician. She has MBBS from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria (1996) and MPH from University of Liverpool, UK (2016). She currently works with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as the Acting Director Prevention, Programmes & Knowledge Management and as the Head of Research. NCDC is Nigeria’s National Public Health Institute with the mandate to protect the health of Nigerians through prevention, early detection and control of infectious diseases of public health importance. She represents NCDC at the National Lassa Fever Research Consortium and National Health Research Technical Working Group. She is a member of the Body of Experts of Central Bank of Nigeria’s Health Sector Research & Development Intervention Scheme, and a member of the Research Functional Working Group and Sustainable Production Group of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

NATALIA PASTERNAK is a microbiologist, with a PhD and post-doctorate in Microbiology, in the field of Bacterial Genetics at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. She is the former director in Brazil of the international festival of scientific communication “Pint of Science” (UK), columnist for the Brazilian national newspaper "O Globo", for The Skeptic magazine (UK), and Medscape (WebMD). She also hosts two weekly radio shows “The hour of Science” at Brazil's CBN national radio station. She contributes as a visiting professor at the Public Administration School at Fundação Getúlio Vargas, São Paulo, and as a research fellow at University of São Paulo. She is currently the publisher of Question of Science magazine and president of Question of Science Institute, the first Brazilian Institute for the promotion of skepticism and rational thinking. She is the first Brazilian to become a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) – USA, in recognition of outstanding work in the promotion of science, skepticism and critical thinking. In 2020, she was chosen Brazilian of the year in Science by IstoE Magazine, Personality of the year by the Group of Latin America Daily Newspapers, and received the Ockham Award from The Skeptic magazine, for the promotion of skepticism and rational thinking in Brazil. She has written two books on popularization of science, Science in Everyday Life, and Against Reality: The Denial of Science, its causes and consequences. She is currently a Visiting Research Scholar at Columbia University, at the Center for Science and Society, by invitation of Professor Stuart Firestein. Her research focuses on how to improve science communication and combat denialism and misinformation, bringing scientific thinking for future policy makers, and helping to create an international collaboration for science-based global policies.

WILMOT JAMES, PhD is Senior Research Scholar at ISERP. He received his PhD (Sociology and African History) from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Dr. James was a post-doctoral fellow of the Southern African Research Program at Yale University, the American Bar Foundation in Chicago and the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College. Dr. James pursued his interest in science and society (James, Nature’s Gifts: Why We Are the Way We Are, WITS University Press, 2010) as a visiting fellow at the Economic and Social Research Council at the University of Edinburgh and as the Gordon Moore Visiting Professor in the Humanities at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. James currently serves as Member of the Accessible Medicines Advisory Board of Chimeron Bio; Member of the Board: Resolve to Save Lives; and Co-Chair of the G7 National Frameworks Working Group - Global Partnership - Africa Signature Initiative on Biosecurity. Dr. James's current research interests are in global health security. He serves as a senior consultant to the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) in biosecurity. He is an honorary professor of public health at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Event Co-Sponsors

Center for Pandemic Research at the Insitute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
The Center for Sustainable Development
The Academy of Political Science

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