Discours lors de la réception à la Résidence de France à l’occasion de la visite du Président Directeur-Général de l’IRD, Pr. Jean-Paul Moatti - le 21 janvier 2019
Dear Professor Jean-Paul Moatti, President and General Director of IRD,
Dear Jacques Berger, IRD country representative,
Dear Deans, Professors of universities and faculties,
It is a great pleasure to welcome you in this historical residence on the occasion of the visit to Thailand of Jean-Paul Moatti, President and Director General of the French national research institute for Sustainable Development (IRD), and of the regional meeting of IRD teams in Asia.
As many of you may know, IRD is a multi-disciplinary French public Institution created in 1944, which is exclusively dedicated to research for development and scientific cooperation with developing countries from the intertropical regions and Mediterranean areas. Therefore, IRD’s belief is driven by the SDGs, the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 by the United Nations.
IRD and Thai research institutions have a longstanding relationship, spanning for more than three decades. At the moment, IRD in Thailand develops research programs in the fields of environment and natural resources, health, and human and social sciences.
These subjects are of primary importance in the global context of climate and socio-economic changes, where impacts on land-use changes and pressures on natural resources are scientifically evident. Meanwhile, preventing and treating infectious diseases such as chronic infections, vector-borne diseases, or those deriving from animal, human and ecosystems interactions are great challenges yet to be addressed. And, last but not least, IRD in Thailand investigates urban and territorial governance issues and water management policies.
By interacting closely with government agencies (such as the Land Development Department) as well as prestigious institutions such as Mahidol, Kasetsart, and Chiang Mai universities, IRD contributes not only to the empowerment of post-graduate students but also to the development of capacity building for local scientific communities. Let me mention in this regard the International Joint Research Lab “LUSE 2” in environmental research, and the “Junior Teams associated with IRD” such as the “SymbiTrop” team for agriculture and the Denchicthai team for infectious diseases.
Those teams also contribute to the training of Master and PhD students from the region.
Likewise, IRD works in close partnership with other French and International Institutes such as CIRAD, CNRS, INSERM, Asian Institute of Technology, the French Development bank – AFD, as well, of course, as the French embassy to Thailand.
Because we share the same vision of building new bridges between France and Thailand by enhancing Science, Technology and Innovation. The embassy provides incentives for high quality academic and scientific exchanges, through in particular, our scholarship program, the junior research fellowship program and the Franco-Thai “PHC-SIAM program”. Since 2011, IRD has received our support for 13 selected projects out of the 70 funded by the French embassy.
It is a way to encourage IRD to explore furthermore synergies in collaboration with its French and Thai partners in the country and the whole ASEAN region.
Last month, I opened the conference organized by IRD-PHPT and Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai on the topic of chronic infections such as HIV. You may know that the commitment of France in the response to the HIV epidemic is both strong and long lasting. The conference concluded that the research conducted by IRD-PHPT and supported by the French 5% Initiative, was not only relevant to reaching out to people who had never had an HIV test before, but more importantly helped people with HIV become aware of their HIV status to search for treatment and linkage to care services. Expertise France therefore decided to renew its financial support, giving IRD-PHPT the capacity to pursue its research over the next three years with a financial support of 1.25 million euros. I am particularly happy, in this context, to meet IRD-PHPT researchers and their partners next month at Chiang Mai University.
Finally, I want to inform everybody that on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of IRD, an exhibition is organized at the Alliance Française of Bangkok on the 22nd of February. I invite you to go and experience it.
Tomorrow also, the IRD delegates will continue working on the elaboration of their roadmap in Asia, share knowledge and experiences on how to increase the research impacts in South-East Asia, and ultimately encourage appropriate synergies for the horizon 2030.
I wish you a very productive meeting and, in between, an enjoyable evening.
Thank you very much.