The unprecedented international mobilisation of the scientific community seen during the March for Science on 22 April 2017, instigated by our American colleagues – including the appeal of the French President on 1 June 2017 to foreign researchers, inviting them to come to France, where they could pursue the fight against global warming – serve to remind us, as if proof were necessary, that the challenges facing us and affecting the future of the entire planet mean that it is essential to defend responsible, committed and genuinely independent scientific research, free from special interests of any kind.
You will therefore see in this report on our activities over the last year that this conviction is entirely in keeping with the missions of the IRD, which we clarified and restated in 2016.
Major restructuring projects at IRD – the modernisation of the central services, changes to the network of representatives, set-up of regional delegations, etc. – were undertaken throughout 2016. We carried out this work whilst remaining very active in promoting our scientific results at major international forums and debates on development, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit held in New York in late September, the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) held on 17-20 October in Quito and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 22), held on 7-18 November in Marrakech.
Our Strategic Direction Plan for 2030, approved by the Board of Directors in July 2016, focuses our involvement in scientific research on the intertropical regions and the Mediterranean area, based on equitable scientific partnerships with the higher education and research communities in the countries and regions concerned. IRD is also working on the opening up of both society and the economy to science, which enables greater technology transfers, co-creation of new knowledge, technologies and services: responsible innovations for developing countries, in places where local constraints and requirements tend to favour the use of innovation and not necessarily following the same routes as those used in more advanced countries. The Strategic Direction Plan has been deployed operationally following the signature of the Institute's performance contract with our supervisory authorities in April 2017, the result of shared discussions held throughout 2016.
I therefore hope that this annual report is a fair and accurate reflection of the added value that our Institute provides to research in general, and of its contribution to the human and sustainable development sciences, in particular.
Now and in the future, we are more committed than ever to a stronger IRD, with a wider influence, devoted both to progress in the universal knowledge and scientific diplomacy of our country.
Jean-Paul Moatti, Chairman and CEO of IRD