Dr. Durbak began the conference by reiterating that healthy people need a healthy environment. Accurate information regarding health and the environment is necessary to allow policymakers to make well-informed decisions. Governments must make use of the precautionary principle, which is based on the idea that we must “do no harm.” Common sense must be used in decision-making when scientific evidence is not available, and children must be educated to understand this idea.
Sustainable development goals, explained Mr. Seth, are not just different bullet points on a list. Instead, they exist as a map of interconnections and progress in one is dependent on progress in the others. In the future, development must not be addressed with more and more new policy frameworks, but rather with real implementation.
Dr. Shuman focused on the effect of the West African Ebola outbreak on children. Children are typically infected at lower rates because they are not caregivers, but once infected their mortality rates are very high. Over 3,700 children have been orphaned because of the current outbreak. These children are stigmatized and shunned because of the fear surrounding Ebola.
Air pollution, Dr. Thurston said, can be more dangerous for children than for adults. Taking action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will help the global environment as well as local health. In developing countries, coal burning and indoor biomass burning are serious health threats.
Dr. Ratzan discussed education’s role in increasing health literacy and advocated the utilization of mobile device technology to ensure good, valid health and environmental information is always only an arm’s length away.
Mr. Doyle highlighted the ability of social media to be harnessed as a vehicle to provide information to the public at the click of a button, helping us build a better future.
Mr. Gupta closed by urging young people to work together to create the world we need. This is a generation that is uniquely fitted to deal with current global crises. As essentially borderless people due to modern technology, the youth must ensure that cross-boundary connections are of humanitarian value. How we choose to associate with our interconnectedness will impact on way issues are dealt with.
Meeting: World Information Transfer 23rd International Conference: Our Children’s World
Location/Date: 1 December 2014, Conference Room 1, UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Dr. Christine K. Durbak, Conference Chair and Founder, World Information Transfer, Inc.; H.E. Yuriy Sergeyev, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the United Nations; Mr. Nikhil Seth, Director for Sustainable Development, DESA, United Nations; Dr. Scott Ratzan, MD, Adj. Prof., Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health; Dr. Emily K. Shuman, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan; Mr. Alex Konanykhyn, President, KMGi; Mr. Wayne Doyle, Director, Liberatrix Media Consulting, Inc.; Ms. Gianna Simone, Activist and Actress; Apurv Gupta, Youth Representative.
Written by WIT Representative: Philip Bracey