The Office for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in the United States has been a partner of the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) for many years. The theme of the conference this year focused on the links between environment and health. A large delegation of French researchers with representatives from Inserm, CNRS and IRD participated in this conference. Several workshops and a plenary conference were co-organized with these French research institutes, the film "Tomorrow" was screened and a reception in honor of the NCSE was held at the Residence of the Ambassador of France .
The NCSE is a non-profit organization created in 1990 dedicated to the promotion of science for decision-making on environmental issues. NCSE members include leaders from research, education and business organizations, as well as government agencies at all levels (federal, state, and local). The NCSE brings together nearly 300 universities, over 80 scientific associations and academies, the US Chamber of Commerce, 35 economic groups and other chambers of commerce, organizations representing state and local governments, 50 national organizations or regional environmental directories, and 3 former scientific directors of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The NCSE specializes in programs that enable collaboration between these various institutions in order to promote the creation and the use of environmental scientific knowledge. This collective work aims to develop a practical science for decision makers in order to solve environmental challenges. However, as an ardent supporter of science and its use, NCSE does not render political opinions on environmental measures in order to preserve a reputation for objectivity and impartiality. NCSE is one of the regular interlocutors of the French Embassy on environmental science and policy issues in the United States.
The NCSE Annual Conference is an annual meeting on major environmental issues, bringing together each year between 1000 and 1,500 participants from academia, NGOs, local communities and the federal government (congress and administrations). The NCSE’s 17th Annual Conference was held in Virginia on January 24-26, 2017 and focused on the relationship between environment and health.
For 8 years, the Office for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in the United States have been a partner of this event. This year, we took in charge the co-organization of plenary sessions and workshops.
A delegation of high-level public health experts, led by Geneviève Chêne and Daniel Benamouzig, co-directors of the Inserm/Aviesan Public Health Thematic Institute, represented Inserm at the conference. Two French-American workshops were organized by these researchers :
Long-Term Effects of Developmental Exposures: Implication to Policy. Speakers for this workshop were : Bernard Jegou (Inserm), Rémy Slama (Inserm), Germaine Buck-Louis (National Institute for Child Health and Human Development - NICHD), Dana Dolinoy (University of Michigan) and Clark Lantz (University of Arizona). This workshop was moderated by Geneviève Chêne and Clark Lantz.
U.S. and French Strategies for Translating Environment and Health Sciences into Policy. Speakers for this workshop were : Robert Barouki (Inserm), Gérard Lasfargues (Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety - Anses), Philippe Hubert (French National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks - INERIS), Jeff Morris (Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)), and Anna Lowit (EPA). This workshop was moderated by Daniel Benamouzig.
A third workshop, on the proposal of Patrick Monfort, Research Director of the CNRS in Montpellier :
Climate Change, Health, and Infectious Diseases: Towards an Ecosystem Approach. Speakers for this workshop were : Jean Paul Moatti ( CEO of the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Developmen- IRD), Rita Colwell (former Director of the National Science Foundation - NSF, University of Maryland) Sylvie Joussaume (CNRS), Serge Morand (CNRS), Louise Vandelac (Université du Québec à Montréal - UQAM), Chantal Pacteau (CNRS) and Patrick Monfort (CNRS/ French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)). This workshop was moderated by the Counselor for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France, Dr. Minh-Hà Pham.
These three workshops each attracted dozens of participants, and many exchanges took place between the audience and the speakers.
Professor Robert Barouki (Inserm/Paris Descartes), on behalf of the Inserm CEO Yves Lévy, gave a lecture entitled "Gene- Environment integration and the future of Precision Medicine" at the plenary session of 26 January with an audience of several hundred people.
Equivalent of the Oscars, César 2016 for the best documentary film, "Tomorrow" was screened at the closing session of the second day of the conference. It shows the international dimension of crises but also of solutions to climate change through a variety of local initiatives filmed all over the world, notably in the United States and France.
On 24 January, a dinner in honor of the NCSE was organized at the Residence of the Ambassador of France and was chaired by Nathalie Broadhurst, Minister Counselor of the Embassy of France in the United States. This dinner was an opportunity for Michelle Wyman, Executive Director of the NCSE, to highlight the quality of cooperation with the French Embassy in Washington and its desire to enhance the international dimension of its organization. To this end, Michelle Wyman had the opportunity in December 2016 to introduce the NCSE to the members of the scientific diplomats club of Washington during a scientific breakfast organized at the French Embassy.
This dinner gathered more than 50 high level scientists and decision-makers. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and former Governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter were present. Thomas E. Lovejoy, founder of the concept of biological biodiversity, who was awarded with the French ’Palmes Académiques’ in November 2016, as well as France Cordova, Director of the NSF, were also participants. On the occasion of this reception, the delegations of French researchers, led by Geneviève Chêne, Daniel Benamouzig and Jean-Paul Moatti, were able to discuss new collaborative projects with their American colleagues.