February 27, 2024

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How Scattered Islands Become a Global Natural Laboratory

How Scattered Islands Become a Global Natural Laboratory

Strengthening scientific research In the Southwest Indian Ocean

The French Southern and Antarctic Lands (TAAF), the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB), the French Development Agency (AFD), and six prestigious scientific institutions, including CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, and the University of La Réunion, are embarking on an ambitious initiative. The collaboration, run by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and Overseas Territories, aims to promote scientific research in the scattered islands. The Joint Roadmap 2022-2026 was signed in the presence of Ministers Sylvie Penney and Philippe Vizier, which outlines the importance of this program for France.

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Scattered Islands: Important Sentinel Territories

The scattered islands strategically located south of the 11th to 26th parallels are unique areas for research due to their rich biodiversity and protected habitats, extensive coral reefs, etc. These islands are reference sites for the study of climate change and its impacts on biodiversity. Their isolation and protection make them an ideal place to integrate into regional studies.

France 2030 Research Program “Resilience to Climate Change”

PEPR BRIDGES projectLasting 10 years, initiated by CNRS, Ifremer and IRD. It aims to promote conservation, sustainable exploitation of marine resources and regional cooperation. The project brings together eight partners, including Météo-France and the National Museum of Natural History, to manage commons in the southwestern Indian Ocean.

Ambitious Roadmap for 2022-2026

The 2022-2026 Roadmap aims to jointly develop TAAF and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research to integrate the scattered islands and develop research programmes. Priority areas include environmental monitoring, the study of ecological connectivity and the characterization of pressures to protect vulnerable areas.

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Regional Scientific Cooperation

The initiative promotes scientific cooperation with countries in the Southwest Indian Ocean. It promotes the exchange of skills and knowledge, the development of training and the networking of marine protected areas.

Specific financial and regional programs

Specific funding instruments such as the PEPR BRIDGES program and the MARIO program are mobilized to boost research. These plans include regional calls for projects and initiatives aimed at protecting marine ecosystems.

These efforts represent a turning point for research in the Southwest Indian Ocean. They reflect France’s desire to highlight these “Sentinel Territories” to respond to global environmental and social challenges. Interdisciplinary and scientific collaborations support this ambitious project, which promises to make the scattered islands a pillar of climate and environmental research.