Organizer: Mr Daan du Toit (SA), Deputy Director-General, International Cooperation and Resources, Department of Science and Technology, Government of South Africa.  Co-Organised by Mr Satoru Ohtake (JP), Senior Executive Director, Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST).

1:00 - 2:30 PM, Saturday, February 13th 2016
Hoover (Marriott Wardman Park)

Session Description

Health diplomacy is the most active field of science diplomacy. This high-level talk maps the evolution of health from a restricted technical/medical area to today’s core role worldwide binding economic/trade/environment and human security/rights agendas. UN, African and Asian insights, amongst others, focus on how countries large and small, developed and developing, exercise health diplomacy through politics for the purpose of representation and cooperation, while improving systems and securing the right to science for vulnerable citizens. News of shared results and exciting new partnerships are given. Why health so dominates foreign affairs at regional, international and global levels is explained.

The complex challenges faced by Health Diplomats and Ministers in negotiating binding treaties and having to learn about health and foster global public goods, in addition to safeguarding their countries’ interests, are unraveled. In particular, global thought-leaders unveil how health diplomacy is now about defending health, evidence-based science and human rights. Governance ‘of’ health has become more inclusive and diplomacy is no longer only about diplomats and health care professionals. It is also about civil society, affected communities and the private sector. Crucially, governance ‘for’ health is about promoting health amongst competing regional and global interests such as environment or trade. Health diplomacy is often the oxygen of this partnership and rivalry.


South African Flag Organiser: Mr Daan du Toit (SA),
Deputy Director-General, International Cooperation and Resources, Department of Science and Technology, Government of South Africa.
Japan Flag Co- Organiser & Moderator: Mr Satoru Ohtake (JP),
Senior Executive Director, Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST).

 UK Flag Moderator: Prof. Luke Georghiou (UK),
Vice-Chancellor Manchester University & Co-Champion ESOF 2016.

 Irish Flag Discussant: Professor Mark Ferguson (IRL),
Director General, Science Foundation Ireland & Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland

US Flag Discussant: Dr. Vaughan Turekian (US),
Chief Science Adviser to the US Secretary of State, John Kerry


Presentation Title: Setting The Scene: How UN Health Diplomacy Removes Political Barriers

French Flag Speaker 1:
MD Michel Kazatchkine (FR)
Member, Global Commission on Drugs Policy; UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia; Former Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis & Malaria.

Talk Description:

For decades, the UN has been the spider in the web of international efforts to improve and link global health. It employs leading physicians, researchers, advocates, policymakers, diplomats and administrators with the single-minded focus of convincing at the highest possible levels to remove those political barriers that prevent affected populations from accessing services routinely available to others. My talk will help delegates understand this political marathon. I will draw upon my own concrete successes and failures as a Doctor practicing in France and Africa, as the former Executive Director of the Global Fund – the world’s largest international financing tool for health programs – and as the current UN Special Health Envoy tackling HIV/Aids. In a broader context, I will help delegates better understand the role of personality and politics, coalition building and pressure groups, big business and even bad timing. I will unravel the world of science and diplomacy strategies to evidence how governance ‘for’ and ‘of’ health is changing – thankfully for the better.


Presentation Title: How Science Diplomacy Is Levelling The Playing Field For Africa

South African Flag Speaker 2:
Daan Du Toit (SA),
Deputy Director-General, International Cooperation and Resources, Department of Science and Technology, Government of South Africa.

Talk Description:

Active cooperation within the BRICS association of five major emerging national economies, unwavering commitment to building strong bilateral ties and to increasing pan-African capabilities at all levels, the appointment of a South African to lead the African Union and the award of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope are indicative of South Africa’s ambition to stand up and contribute to the global scientific enterprise. New actors and voices are emerging. But this must be a two-way, capacity-sharing street. My talk will focus on how health diplomacy, in particular, and our drive to defend health, evidence-based science and human rights of access, coupled with a continent’s hunger for better health services, has radically altered the governance and balance of health sciences. I will evidence how a number of important developments are acting as a carrier wave, levelling the playing field for all Africans and our global partners. The European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology and the Southern African Biosciences Initiative are clear examples of our common determination to move from a resource-dependent to a knowledge-based economy. We are rolling up our sleeves to address global challenges in health, while adding our unique understanding of the human and social dynamics of societies in transition.

Presentation Title: Understanding Vulnerability To Substance Addiction

japan Flag Speaker 3:
Prof. Kenji Shibuya (JP)
Professor and Chair, Department of Global Health Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo.

Talk Description:

Asian countries are staking their ambition to place science and technology in the driving seat of their economic and broader societal plans to promote growth, prosperity and well-being. The launch of an Asian Economic Community has elevated health diplomacy in policy-making. Regional S&T cooperation, in particular, has gained unprecedented prominence as a tool for bettering relations and addressing common health challenges. Key to this success are plans to grow and capitalise on the innovation capabilities of health actors from higher education, research, business and entrepreneurship. My talk will provide timely insights into the inter-regional and global cooperation imperatives shaping this thinking. Concrete case-studies around flagship Japanese initiatives, amongst others, from the digital-health agenda and industrial policy to the strategy on innovation, jobs and employment, will underpin how Asian partners are successfully transforming their health-based economies. My talk will explore the feasibility of a truly Asian scientific enterprise and its strong international dimension.