IRD in Latin America and in the Caribbean
Since mid 1960-ties, the IRD has maintained its research on the development in Latin and Central America and in the Caribbean (“Amérique Latine et Caraïbes” or ALC).
The ALC is organised around 8 representatives, based in 6 countries and 2 overseas territories. This entire scientific system allows researches to study in 20 countries in this region of the world, including almost all of the South American countries, with a particularly large amount of operations in the central Andes countries and in Brazil. Countries where the IRD is based include around 400 million inhabitants.
Close to 170 IRD agents manage, in collaboration with numerous local partners and French organisations, research activities, training and innovation programs.
The research topics focus on the major preoccupations concerning the development of the region:
- Environment (origin of the biodiversity and its genomic development),
- Climate change and variability (relationship between ocean and climate, tropical glaciers, the El Niño phenomenon, paleoclimatology),
- Geodynamics of the Andes,
- Natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, extreme climate events) or hazards related to human activities (contamination related to extraction methods and agricultural activities and their impact on the environment and on health)
- Non-renewable resources,
- Renewable resources (water, fisheries),
- Health and natural substances derived from medicinal plants,
- Social and economic challenges of development ( poverty fight policies, governance, marginal areas and conflicts, migrations, metropolises).
The IRD's activities in the region are based around several partnerships, such as the:
- Recently established AIRD teams (“jeunes equipes AIRD” or JEAI),
- Excellency programs for teaching and research in the South (“Programmes d’excellence pour l’enseignement et la recherche au Sud” or PEERS)
- Joint international laboratories (“Laboratoires mixtes internationaux” or LMI)
Two regional pilot programmes (“programmes pilotes régionaux” or RPP) provide guidance for the research conducted in the fields of hazards, vulnerability and impacts in the Andes (“risques, vulnérabilité et impacts dans les Andes” or RIVIA), and in the fields of social, environmental dynamics and resources in the Amazon (“dynamique sociale, environnementale et ressources en Amazonie” or AMAZ).
The Institute is actively involved with the regional environmental observation centres (the HYBAM in the Amazon basin or the GLACIOCLIM which includes the Andean glaciers) and the Cousteau observation centre of seas and coasts in Central America and in the Caribbean. The observation centres constitute important platforms for gathering data for projects working on the environment.
Training constitutes an important aspect of the work conducted at the Institute, in response to a high demand from its partners and to a genuine involvement of these partners, which favours exchanges to strengthen skills.
Innovation and development are also among the numerous priorities of many institutions in the region, thus allowing for original collaborations.