On the occasion of the 78th United Nations General Assembly, the European Brain Council in collaboration with the Baker Institute for Public Policy, the Brain Capital Alliance, the Brain Health Nexus and supporting partners hosted a Brain Health & Research Day on 18 September 2023 at the Harvard Club of New York City as part of the Science Summit, bringing together over 150 key stakeholder organisations all committed to the same goal: fostering and enhancing global collaboration in the brain area, with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of people living with brain conditions, neurological and mental alike.
In line with the Science Summit’s core focus of examining policy, regulatory and financial environments needed to implement and sustain the science mechanisms required to support global scientific collaborations, the Brain Day event highlighted the existing partnerships, roadmaps and potentials of extended global collaboration specifically in the brain area, in the case of neuroscience but also in addressing brain disorders, neurological and mental alike.
Across the globe, society is facing brain challenges like never before—improving the health and well-being of citizens has become the top priority for many governments and brain health should not be left behind. Brain disorders, neurological and mental alike, are pervasive and pernicious diseases that are often difficult to treat. Enhancing global brain research collaboration can spur innovation and quicken effective outcomes to the benefit of people living with brain conditions everywhere. Over the last few years, EBC has served as a convener for experts in the brain community to share best practices, exchange ongoing work and align priorities to forge a joint path forward to understand and address the brain rather than in silos across continents.
Monday’s event included panel discussions and presentations from speakers and attending guests representing brain-related organisations from all over the world, including the Dana Foundation, TReND in Africa Outreach Programme, European Academy of Neurology, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, American Heart Association, Simons Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation, AARP as well as representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO), the NIH-National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (USA), Committee on Science, Innovation, and Technology of the Argentinian Parliament (Argentina), The Academy of Science (Malaysia), the EU Representation to the United States and a special video address from EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides – all to name a few of the important stakeholders in the room and part of the conversation.
In order to move past discussion and work towards explicit and tangible next steps in solidifying global efforts in brain research, EBC held this full day event in order to cover a number of important areas for action, with as many relevant actors involved, and to release a Call to Action on Putting Brain Health on the Global Agenda to guide national, regional and global policymakers towards better addressing brain health in the future, particularly as they prepare for the post-Sustainable Development Goals era with the Summit of the Future 2024 and the High Level Conference on the UN NCD Strategy 2025. The Call to Action, launched at the end of the event, reflects the urgent calls from the brain community – highlighting the priorities to address the burden of brain disease and improve brain health in the future and outlines a set of calls to the United Nations and Member States. Read it now and help spread the word within your network and Member State representatives.
Further event content will be shared soon.
On 19 September 2023, a second brain-focused event was held, Brain Capital Building @ UNGA: Brain Deals to Harness AI and Drive SDG Implementation by 2030, which EBC was happy to be part of. As The Lancet Neurology put it when they highlighted EBC’s event in an article marking the kick-off of the 78th United Nations General Assembly: “during the countdown to 2030, for countries to achieve the SDG to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, more emphasis on brain health will be crucial,” and holding two brain-related events at the start of UNGA78 couldn’t have been more timely to argue this very important point. “Without solidarity with, and consideration for, the billions of people affected by brain diseases worldwide, it will be difficult to “rebuild trust” and accelerate action to achieve the SDGs.”