Moving forward with urgency following the IEF 2008

May 10, 2011
Ecosystems and Human Health
The International EcoHealth Forum (IEF 2008) provided an opportunity to share information and profile successes across disciplines. Because ecohealth is an interdisciplinary field of study, “most of the people working in ecohealth projects don’t necessarily go to the same conferences,” said Dr Dominique Charron, Ecosystem Approaches to Human Health Program Leader.

“It was really important in particular for the people IDRC works with on ecohealth research in developing countries to interact with a growing group of researchers in developed countries,” Dr Charron said.

IEF 2008 was “a watershed moment in the evolution of the programming [for IDRC],” Dr Charron said. IDRC was able to witness both the impact of its investment in ecohealth research for development, along with some of the challenges. Some of these include the need for more persuasive arguments for decision-makers to make policy changes based on research; the need for better articulating field methodologies and tools to implement ecohealth research; and, the need to develop still more analytical tools to address the complex data generated by ecohealth research “so we’re not doing integrated projects and then having to analyze everything separately.”

IEF 2008 demonstrated “the commitment and conviction of a huge number of people working in ecohealth-type research,” Dr Charron said. The current global environmental and financial crisis is providing “urgency to do this research” and to address the challenges in order to provide informed decision making that might help keep us from disaster “that a lot of people at the Forum seemed to feel we’re heading toward.” Researchers at IEF 2008 seemed ready to rise to these challenges.

“This is a maturing field of endeavour; there’s intellectual investment that is bearing fruit, and it was really quite gratifying to be a part of that,” Dr Charron said.

For more information on the IDRC Ecosystem Approaches to Human Health Program, please visit the program’s website.

Dr Dominique Charron
Program Leader, Ecosystem Approaches to Human Health Program
International Development Research Centre (IDRC)