Madagascar’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Mr. Zina ANDRIANARIVELO, opened the meeting on April 20th in Washington, D.C., saying he was, “committed to continuing to explore innovative ways that drones can improve human and ecosystem health in Madagascar. . .and will raise this issue at the highest levels within the United Nations.”
The event, sponsored by Stony Brook University’s Global Health Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), convened scientists, corporations, drone manufacturers, funders and U.S. government agencies to build a durable coalition of support and an action plan for the use of drones for humanitarian, health and development purposes.
Symposium participants engaged in structured interdisciplinary dialogue on the policy issues related to accelerating the humanitarian use of drones. “We can go ‘back to the future’ and use drones to make medical house calls in remote villages” said Peter Small, Founding Director of Stony Brook’s Global Health Institute. He and Patricia Wright, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Stony Brook, completed a successful series of long-range, fully autonomous drone flights with blood and stool samples that were flown from the villages to Stony Brook University’s Centre ValBio research station for testing.
The results from the symposium will form the basis of a white paper identifying the policies and practices that might enable the United States to play a global leadership role in the use of drones to improve human and ecosystem health, promote innovation and advance U.S. national interests.