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Event Recap May 1, 2020

Event recap | How we can achieve both healthy communities and economic renewal

By Claudia Vaughn Zittle

On Thursday, April 30, 2020, the Atlantic Council’s GeoTech Center hosted a panel of experts for a discussion titled “How We Can Achieve Both Healthy Communities and Economic Renewal.”  The panel included Mona Nemer, chief science advisor to Canada’s Prime Minister; Philippe Gillet, chief scientific officer with SICPA; Luukas Ilves, head of strategy with Guardtime; Daniella Taveau, principal of Bold Text Strategies; and Declan Kirrane, the managing director of ISC Intelligence in Science.

Resilience now for a prosperous future

The discussion, moderated by the GeoTech Center’s Director, Dr. David Bray, focused on how the international community can use vulnerabilities highlighted by COVID-19 to create resilience in the face of future crises. Drawing from their unique backgrounds, the panelists identified key areas to be improved upon. Despite their varying areas of expertise, the panelists agreed that weak collaboration both globally and across sectors served as the largest impediment to the universal achievement of healthy communities and economic renewal.

Trust as an antidote to fear

Though the pandemic revealed new fears surrounding emerging technologies, it also confirmed the public’s continued concern over issues of data storage, privacy, and security. However, much like the pandemic, data extends well beyond borders. Innovation and invention, informed by data, are necessary prerequisites to a swift, effective response to the crisis. As global stakeholders balance the efficacy of using data with ensuring data protection, they must do so under a more transparent framework. Global trust matters now more than ever.

Adapting to the “new normal”

As the international community explores how to achieve both healthy communities and economic renewal, it must also consider which standards and expectations may never again be the same. The businesses that have adapted to, and embraced, the “new normal” are finding the most success in navigating the pandemic. While COVID-19 has unveiled weaknesses in current systems and practices, it has also specified critical areas for governments to modernize and reform. Now is the time to acknowledge the unknowns of the “new normal,” and to fill in those gaps before the next crisis strikes.

The GeoTech Center champions positive paths forward that societies can pursue to ensure new technologies and data empower people, prosperity, and peace.

Related Experts: David Bray