In 2019, the IRD network had a total of 36 representatives abroad, in the Overseas Territories and with international and European institutions.
For the past few years, in accordance with its COP objective, IRD has engaged in the process of pooling its representatives (something that can take different forms: from sharing representatives to pooling resources).
In 2019, IRD also continued the process of setting up Scientific and Strategic Steering Committees (CP2S). Organised locally by IRD representatives, these advisory committees bring together IRD's scientific and institutional partners in the countries concerned and contribute to the Institute's scientific work and co-ordination. The CP2S provide a space for dialogue with scientific and institutional partners. These committees enable opinions and recommendations to be expressed on the adequacy of IRD actions underway in the country/territory concerned, taking into account their context and relating them both to development issues on the ground and actions carried out by other development actors. In 2019, five CP2Ss were thus set up: Senegal (September 2019) Laos (October 2019), Madagascar (October 2019), Brazil (October 2019), Mexico (December 2019), and Mali (December 2019).
South & Central America
In Latin and Central America, IRD relies on a dense and varied network of scientific partners. The Institute's work in this region is based on a system of regional cooperation rooted in co-construction and knowledge sharing. Due to its long-standing presence here, the Institute is highly reputed, particularly among national funding agencies. IRD research in Latin and Central America focuses on global change, sustainable management of resources and territories, and urban mobilities and dynamics.
Installation of the first permanent measurement buoy on Lake Titicaca
At the end of June 2019, IRD and its partners installed a measurement buoy in the Bolivian waters of Lake Titicaca. The first of its kind, this buoy performs permanent automatic measurements of physical, chemical and biological data, transmitting them to a server at Université Majeure Saint André (UMSA). This allows the lake water to be monitored.
Fires in Bolivian Chiquitania
September 2019 was marked by raging fires that decimated some of the biodiversity of Chiquitania, the Amazon section of Bolivia. Four million hectares have been destroyed, of which 46% are reserves and protected natural areas harbouring a great diversity of fauna and flora. An article published in Nature by IRD and its Bolivian partners revealed the impact these fires have already had on the Bolivian glacial retreat and, by extension, on global warming.
Cities and climate change: a requirement for effective resilience
Cities are becoming the main protagonists in the fight against climate change, not only because of their major contribution to greenhouse gas emissions but also because the impacts of climatic variability are exacerbated by high population densities. To address these subjects, IRD launched the Resilience to Climate Change programme in the cities of La Paz and Tarija.
First French-Colombian Conference on Higher Education, Research and Innovation (COLFIRI Colombian-French association, Medellin, June 12-14, 2019). Around 1,600 Colombian and French participants. IRD was involved in the organisation of two round tables on biodiversity and the Andean tropical ecosystems as well as in the launch of the CLIMA AmSud task force (https://www.colifri.com/fr/assises-franco-colombiennes-esri-2019/).
December 2019: LIFE WITHOUT ICE project accepted as part of a BNP Paribas call for projects. The relationship between biodiversity and glacier extinction will be studied at several tropical sites, notably in Colombia and Ecuador.
Creation of an international mixed laboratory called "Eldorado", to research ecosystems, biodiversity, habitat modification and risks of emerging pathogens and diseases in Mexico over a period of 5 years.
Launch of the CLEAR project - Climate change education in Latin America for primary and secondary students.
A year of scientific dissemination on the topic of marine biodiversity in the South Atlantic
Throughout 2019, TAPIOCA LMI researchers and their Recife partners carried out a great many actions disseminating science to the general public.
Closing seminar of the RISE ODYSSEA ERC project: "How to mobilise science to meet the challenges of companies in the Amazon? " University of Brasilia on October 7 and 8, 2019. This project will continue in other forms thanks to funding from Belmont Forum and BNP Paribas Foundation.
Meeting of the French-Brazilian network for the Nordeste ReFBN on the issue of resources in semi-arid Brazil in the context of climate change.
Implementation of the multidisciplinary study on the determinants and sources of the Nahua indigenous people's exposure to mercury.
1st French-Peruvian Scientific Forum, "New perspectives on climate change in the Amazon", held in Lima on December 10, 2019, jointly organised by IRD, CONCYTEC (National Council for Science and Technology), University of the Pacific, IFEA and the French Embassy.
Several research studies have been conducted on subjects such as the impact of agricultural practices on soil carbon content and land policy; biodiversity in the Amazon, via the Herbarium of Guyana's collection; and space hydrology.
East Africa and the Indian Ocean
Due to the highly contrasting environments of continents and islands in Southern and Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean, IRD carries out a wide variety of development operations there, combining a broad range of scientific areas such as marine sciences, climate change, biodiversity, environment, health and social sciences. With five IRD representations in the area, the Institute is part of a system of regional cooperation that embraces its activities in the French Overseas Territories along with collaborations among Global South players.
An IRD regional meeting was held in Saint Denis de La Réunion from October 2 to 4, 2019. It served to determine what particular scientific areas need to be developed in order to consolidate and structure the Institute's activities in the region.
In October 2019, the firstmultidisciplinary school for participatory environmental research, CLAREA, was founded in Tanzania. Its mission: to study the key environmental issues and come up with solutions via a combination of social sciences and biophysical sciences, while getting local populations involved.
Protecting and conserving the Kenyan mangrove
The Mikoko project ("mangrove" in Swahili) brings IRD, CIRAD and the Kenyan forest service together to work for the protection of endangered mangroves on the Kenyan coast. Launched in 2019, this two-year project aims to build up capacities of research, education and training on the mangrove forests' potential and the importance of their conservation.
IRD, a key player in protecting the environment
The Institute held a privileged position at the United Nations Environment Assembly, that took place in Nairobi in March 2019. Many of its researchers were able to promote their work and present potential solutions on the environment and the climate to policymakers and others attending the Assembly, with the One Planet Summit organised in parallel (https://www.ird.fr/contenu/one-planet-summit-lird-se-mobilise-pour-lenvironnement).
The French-South African Science and Innovation Days, held in Pretoria, South Africa on December 2 and 3, 2019, gave stakeholders an opportunity to promote the diversity and vitality of scientific collaboration between the two countries and discuss its development potential (http://afrique-australe-cnrs-cirad.ird.fr/toute-l-actualite/evenements-a-venir/journees-franco-sud-africaines-pour-la-science-et-l-innovation).
Spotlight on animal health in Zimbabwe : 2019 saw the launch of CAZCOM, a project aimed at building Zimbabwe's capacity to control animal and zoonotic diseases.
TRIATLAS – A sustainable overview of marine ecosystems in the South Atlantic : IRD researchers are taking part in this ambitious European project, launched in 2019, to establish a system for predicting changes in South Atlantic and tropical marine ecosystems.
The ePOP project was launched in partnership with Université de La Réunion (https://la-reunion.ird.fr/l-ird-a-la-reunion/epop).
As part of the TIS project, experimental releases of tiger mosquitoes sterilised by irradiation were carried out in Reunion Island. These first releases of approximately 9,000 sterile Aedes albopictus males demonstrated that sterile laboratory-raised male mosquitoes behave and survive just as well as non-sterile wild males in the natural environment. These results will make it possible to consider mass releases of sterile males in 2020-2021, in order to reduce tiger mosquito populations on a small scale in Reunion Island.
Launch of the experimental ISOPOLIS project, targeting 8 priority issues in Reunion Island: resilient agriculture and healthy food, healthy ageing, management of regional knowledge through the establishment of a regional open knowledge system, citizenship and public policies, new economy, education -Training, individual, organisational and territorial resilience.
The first workshop following the launch of the Scientific and Strategic Steering Committee (CP2S) provided an opportunity to consolidate achievements made in each area. The workshop addressed the structuring activities and interdisciplinary work carried out during the 2018 commemoration of IRD's 70-year presence in Madagascar.
Cross-cutting topics such as Earth observation, landscape approach and SHS were approved, along with the need for training and enhancing research.
In 2019, IRD concentrated on developing the Mikaroka LMI on marine sciences. This LMI is the first to be implemented in Madagascar and the Indian Ocean sector. In the same spirit of collaboration, a process of reflection was launched to establish a second LMI on the concept of "landscapes".
From 20 to 22 November 2019, IRD and AUF's capacity-building team for the Global South steered a collaborative workshop on an emerging project to support nine Malagasy doctoral schools belonging to the Universities of Antananarivo, Toliara, Mahajanga, Antsiranana, Fianarantsoa and the Catholic University of Madagascar. Driven by the University of Montpellier, this project will be submitted for Erasus + Capacity building funding in 2020.
West and Central Africa
IRD has been established in West and Central Africa since 1946. This is a region where the Institute operates in all its fields of scientific competence and through multiple partnerships. Nine representatives are currently deployed there.
This region faces considerable challenges related to endemic poverty, major sanitary issues, the degradation of natural resources and climate change, and growing insecurity. However, the economic outlook and scientific dynamics are positive.
The regional meeting took place in Yaoundé in April 2019.
For IRD's 75th anniversary, a symposium was held in June 25, 2019, on the science partnership between Mali and IRD, in the presence of the Mali Prime Minister (Boubou Cissé), his Health and Social Affairs minister (Michel Sidibé), Higher Education and Research minister (Mamadou Famenta), and IRD's CEO.
Together with ICE (International Consulting Expertise) France, IRD won an AFD call for tender (4 million euros over 4 years) for the establishment of a Platform for analysis, monitoring and apprenticeship in the Sahel (PASAS). The purpose of this operational knowledge production and sharing platform is to inform the strategic and operational decisions of development players and guide their actions in fragile areas and crisis regions in the Sahel.
MacoTer LMI ("Malian Reconfigurations. Cohesion, territories, development") organised its "Autumn School" at Bamako's Université des Lettres et sciences humaines, on the subject of social sciences in crisis situations ("Research practices and production of knowledge in conflict situations"). This school brought top experts from Mali and France together to discuss these matters.
Lamivect LMI celebrated its 9th anniversary. This provided an opportunity to give visibility to this LMI's body of academic work (75 peer-reviewed articles, 47 international communications, 31 doctoral students trained, 28 Research Masters, development of advanced technical platforms) and community work (insect-treated mosquito nets, insecticide paints, indoor insecticide spraying; easier access to Ivermectin, active screening and vector control for human African trypanosomiasis). Such increased visibility helps draw positive attention from the authorities and back up requests for future funding.
The 2018 alternative Nobel Prize winner, Yacouba Sawadogo, was the guest of honour at the science colloquium "Agroecology, a life force to cope with desertification", organised by IRD in connection with the "Land, biodiversity & climate" International Civil Society Summit in Ouagadougou in June 2019.
Publication of the book Rencontre religieuses et dynamiques sociales au Burkina Faso. This work was produced collectively through collaboration between IRD, the Institute of Social Sciences (INSS) and the University of Mainz, as part of a project entitled "State of knowledge about religion in Burkina Faso".
Inauguration of the malaria laboratory and insectarium at Centre Pasteur in Cameroon
IRD assisted in the acquisition of equipment specific to the study of insect vectors (https://cameroun.ird.fr/toute-l-actualite/l-actualite/inauguration-du-laboratoire-de-paludologie-et-d-insectarium-au-centre-pasteur-du-cameroun).
Interdisciplinary research programme on climate and urban environments (PRInCE)
The PRInCE programme was created on the initiative of the urban community of Douala (CUD) and its technical and financial partners, such as the French Global Environment Facility (FGEF) and the French Development Agency (AFD). It is part of the "Douala, Sustainable City" project.
This workshop was organised with the support of the "Strengthening resilience against disasters in sub-Saharan Africa" programme driven by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). It will be followed up in Libreville (Gabon) from March 3 to 6, 2020 (https://cameroun.ird.fr/layout/set/print/toute-l-actualite/l-actualite/douala-libreville-ateliers-regionaux-de-renforcement-des-capacites-pour-la-gestion-et-la-reduction-des-risques-de-catastrophe).
IRD's participation in the Ivory Coast Agricultural and Animal Resources Show (SARA) from November 22 to December 1.
Conferences and an exhibition to celebrate IRD's 75-year anniversary and its 73 years in Ivory Coast (IRD's longest-established presence abroad).
Despite its many assets (young and educated population, rareness of absolute poverty, readily available natural resources), this region faces increasing social and ecological pressures that call into question the modalities of its development over the medium and long term. IRD has been operating in the Mediterranean since 1957 and currently has 3 representatives there.
IRD's work in the Mediterranean mainly concerns water resources, terrestrial and coastal ecosystems, living conditions and mobility of populations, governance issues, and natural hazards.
Launch of the "Georesources, human development and environment" (GEODHE) PSIP in Rabat on September 16 and 17. Combining the activities of 24 joint research units (UMR), 14 international joint laboratories (LMI), and 9 young teams associated with IRD (JEAI), this programme focuses on understanding georesources (mining, water resources, hydrocarbons and derivatives), their uses, related environmental and societal issues and reduction of negative impacts, all in a context of diversified and sustainable circular economy.
IRD's science council held its first session outside Metropolitan France, with a major scientific congress on the topic "A world in transition" at the Rabat Faculty of Sciences of Mohammed V University, on February 6 and 7, 2019.
Under the MOVIDA LMI (Mobilities, Travel, Innovations and Dynamics in Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan Africa), a seminar presenting the first issue of the scientific journal Afrique(s) en Mouvement was held at the International University of Rabat (UIR) on February 13, 2019. Published with the backing of IRD and the LMI, this journal addresses subjects related to mobility and globalisation.
From April 13 to May 14, 2019, the Merite Hippocampe campaign unfolded on board the oceanographic vessel Antea in the Mediterranean Sea, between La Seyne-sur-Mer and Gabès. 16 Tunisian and French scientists sailed a distance of over 1,500 kilometres, collecting seawater and plankton samples from 19 predefined areas. Amongst other things, their investigation aimed to determine the health condition of marine ecosystems, particularly on the primary links of the pelagic food chain (planktonic organisms), across areas of ecological interest in the North and South of the Mediterranean Sea.
On June 28, 2019, 20 Tunisian and French experts shared their knowledge of best practices in promoting development research during a workshop organised by Tunisia's National Agency for the Promotion of Research (ANPR), with the participation of IRD. The workshop attracted about 120 participants (from the research community, institutional partners, socio-economic players, etc.).
A participatory science workshop on the topic "Gender and justice" was organised for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Creation of the O-LIFE GDRI-SUD, a research group with the medium- and long-term aim of coordinating and leading a multiple partnership and inter-institutional research groups in Lebanon and France. These groups will act on four priority and strategic research areas concerning sustainable development: Water resource management, biodiversity management, environmental risk management and maritime space.
In the Pacific, a region that stands out for its exceptional biodiversity and that is also particularly threatened by planetary changes, IRD acts in a wide range of disciplinary fields: oceanography, terrestrial and marine natural resources, mines and natural hazards, health, society and environment, and so on. The Institute has two representatives in the region, in New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
At the end of June 2019, IRD teams were closely involved in organising the "Biodiversity in Oceania" symposium, in which 70 experts participated. A publication assembling scientists' recommendations on preserving the Pacific region's marine and terrestrial biodiversity was compiled and presented at the annual SPREP (Pacific Regional Environment Programme) conference in Apia.
An agreement was signed with the Loyalty Islands Province to develop the micro-algae sector, via funding for post-doctorate research conducted by Emmrick Saulia, a Kanak student who presented a thesis on diazotrophic cyanobacteria in the South Pacific (MIO UMR).
The IRD representation in New Caledonia provided a number of training modules for the development of an Environment degree at the National University of Vanuatu. This course is due to start in March 2020.
IRD's research work in Asia is carried out very much on a regional basis, across a wide range of topics: health, human and social sciences, agriculture and soil, marine and coastal environment, biodiversity, volcanology, etc. There are currently 5 IRD representatives deployed in Asia.
Representatives from Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and the directors of the scientific and support departments met in Bangkok to draw up a regional roadmap for IRD activities in Asia. At this meeting, ten major development issues or priority areas were identified in which IRD has strong scientific resources. These are the areas that must direct the cooperation strategies deployed in each of the countries in the region: malnutrition, management of deltas and coastlines, approach to development and cultural diversity in South-East Asia, issues and challenges of urban development, sustainable management of biodiversity and tropical cultivated soils, mangroves, access to resources, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, plastics and emerging contaminants, resilience of artisanal fisheries and sustainable aquaculture.
Meetings were held on the topic of "liveable cities" and an international Political Ecology conference was organised at the University of Chulalongkorn in October 2019.
A workshop on reading and writing scientific publications was organised in Chiang Mai in June 2019
In partnership with the Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development (RCSD).
For World Ocean Day on Saturday June 8, 2019, IRD's Thailand representative assisted in the organisation of events put on by many NGOs at the Alliance Française in Bangkok. There was also a screening of IRD's documentary, "Plastic Waste: From Visible to Invisible" on this occasion.
The exhibition "Research for development: 17 goals for a sustainable future" was inaugurated in its English version on February 20, 2019, at the Alliance Française's media library, to mark IRD's 75th anniversary as well as the publication of the book "75 innovations pour le développement".
For IRD's 75th anniversary, the company "Les bêtes sur la Lune" and "Fanglao" put on a performance based on ethnographic interviews: a rereading of testimonies from men and women living with HIV in Laos. Artists staged the words of the people interviewed by the researchers.
Animal self-medication and traditional medicine: from the feeding behaviour of Asian elephants to human pharmacopoeia. Elephants have a remarkably varied diet, and they adapt it to their physiological condition. Indeed, mahouts observe that elephants consume specific plants according to their state of health. During a study carried out in Laos, an IRD research team found that due to these mahouts' observation of such elephant behaviour, which the mahouts interpret as a form of self-medication, some of the plants the elephants chose to eat were now being used in traditional human and veterinary pharmacopoeias
The FSPI COMPOSE project, funded by France, was implemented. The purpose of this project, carried out in partnership with the Vietnamese authorities, is to build a national observatory for pollution by plastic materials.
AFD and IRD have joined forces to launch the GEMMES Vietnam project, with the aim of giving Vietnam realistic climate scenarios and economic forecasts to rely on so that the country can build resilient pathways to ecological and energy transition.
HoanKiemAir, an interactive simulation system designed by researchers and students of the UMMISCO UMI, was inaugurated in June 2019. This device makes tangible demonstrations of how urban traffic affects atmospheric pollution in Hanoi. The idea is to show decision-makers and the general public the variety of potential solutions (number of vehicles in circulation, urban developments) for mitigating pollution. For instance, the model designed for the People's Committee of the Hoan Kiem district can display exactly how air quality would change if Hoan Kiem lakeside were to be pedestrianised at weekends. It then asks users to choose between various development scenarios (developing immediate surroundings, extended surroundings, etc.).