Biodiversity is one of IRD's top priorities. The Institute thus actively took part in the 7th session of the Intergovernmental Scientific and Political Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in Paris in the spring.

TheCOP14Convention to Combat Desertification, held in New Delhi in September, gave experts, IRD partners and decision-makers the chance to engage in productive dialogue about the link between gender and desertification and the challenge of adapting agricultural systems to climate change.

IRD and its researchers took part in the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 4) and the One Planet Summit in Nairobi, reaffirming their conviction: only by making use of science can we hope to succeed in mitigating climate change and adapting to it.

As a member of the Aviesan and Allenvi research alliances both for life sciences and health and for the environment, IRD attended the Global Fund replenishment meeting in Lyon in October. Its researchers helped demonstrate the added value of research in the eradication of three major pandemics: HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

At the European Public Health Conference (EUPHA) held in Marseille in November, IRD highlighted the strengths of participatory research and the challenges involved.

And finally, at COP25 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), held under the Chilean presidency last December in Madrid, the Institute took its place alongside other key players in French research to organise several events on the topic "Sciences and territories: what synergies to fight against climate change?" 

Strengthening institutional relationships and scientific collaborations with key players in development 

In 2019, IRD signed a framework agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and CIRAD to strengthen their collaboration on a number of key topics (biodiversity, climate risk, Environment data, land degradation, relations between Environment, society and health). In addition, following the signing of the framework agreement between France and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between IRD and FAO, the Institute has upheld its commitments, taking part in the global soil partnership, becoming a partner of the European Blue Cloud project and continuing to provide expertise on topics of interest to FAO (such as nutrition, food systems, animal trypanosomiasis, soil biodiversity, agroecology, and so on). 

In 2019, the Institute's relations with the World Bank continued to flourish. Indeed, the World Bank commissioned IRD to carry out a training programme in East and Central Africa on flood risk management in urban areas. It also requested the compilation of a best practices guide for coastal management in West Africa, a project co-ordinated by IRD's "Vulnerability of coastal areas" PSIP under the World Bank's WACA (West African Coastal Areas) programme.

In March 2019, IRD significantly strengthened its cooperation with the French Development Agency (AFD) with the signing of an ambitious framework partnership agreement. The two institutions reaffirmed their joint mandate to support and build research capacity in the Global South, reiterating their willingness to cooperate on projects contributing to the attainment of SDGs. The renewal of this partnership was manifested in several ways. For instance, AFD and IRD launched an Operational platform to produce and share knowledge, aimed at clarifying the strategic and operational decisions of development actors in the Sahel. Another example is the "ACE Partners" project, developed in conjunction with the World Bank, to help West African centres of excellence network and establish links by subject area.

Lastly, IRD strengthened its relationships with patrons and philanthropists, notably by holding the 3rd edition of the "Science, Development and Philanthropy" seminars on the topic of climate and biodiversity, in June 2019 in Annecy, in conjunction with the French Centre for Funds and Foundations (CFF).

And in the future?

IRD will keep up its involvement, continuing to advocate the role of science in sustainable development at the major international events taking place in 2020 (United Nations Oceans Conference in Lisbon, World Conservation Congress in Marseille, One Planet Summit first in Papeete then in Marseille, Generation Equality Forum in Paris, Africa-France Summit in Bordeaux, Biodiversity COP15 in Kunming, Climate COP26 in Glasgow).

IRD also intends to deepen its relationships with major bilateral and multilateral development donors, as well as with philanthropists and foundations. This will be achieved through the signing of a framework agreement and the co-construction and implementation of development research projects, amongst other things.