In the face of rising humanitarian, health and social crises haunting today’s children, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) becomes a daunting task. The Knowledge to Policy (K2P) Center, at the American University of Beirut (AUB) – Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), Graduate Public Health Program – as the only commissioners from the Lebanon and the Arab region – hosted the second Word Health ORganization (WHO) UNICEF Lancet Commission on the “Realignment of Child Health for the SDG Era” meeting at the AUB premises November 3-5, with the aim to present a scientifically-founded human, environmental and financial case for placing child health centrally within the SDG agenda.
Along with distinguished Commissioners, who are global experts in their fields, the WHO UNICEF Lancet Commission on the Realignment of Child Health for the SDG Era is chaired by the former Prime Minister of New Zealand and UNDP administrator, Dr. Helen Clark, and the Senegalese Minister of State, Dr. Awa Marie Coll Seck, and led by Dr. Anshu Banerjee, the acting director of the maternal, newborn, child and adolescent department in WHO, and Dr. Stefan Peterson, the chief of health at UNICEF.
In his opening speech, FHS Dean Iman Nuwayhid welcomed all commissioners to Lebanon and explained how this meeting and this commission align with the Faculty’s mission, the first public health school in Lebanon and the region. Dr. Nuwayhid highlighted the significance of the mission of this Commission, stressing the need to address the impact of war and conflict on the health and wellbeing of children, and the challenges and suffering that refugee and displaced children undergo.
In his statement, Dr. Fadi El-Jardali, K2P center director considered that “the presence of high profile global experts in Beirut discussing children wellbeing highlights the importance of this topic globally and for the MENA Region in particular, given the dire challenges that this region is facing. It also ascertains the value that K2P Center sees in advocating for child health and wellbeing.”