Mis à jour le 25/10/22

While IRD is increasingly and resolutely committed to the path of sustainability science, the time has come for the institute to establish a group of experts to reflect on designing new federative research frameworks and platforms that bring together experts, not only from different scientific disciplines, but also from different areas and cultures, as a means to create collective knowledge, in close collaboration with political decision-makers and civil society. A particularly salient category of actors in this process of co-construction is the Indigenous peoples of the intertropical regions, whose integrity is being undermined by profound changes affecting their ecosystems.

The Indigenous peoples have a detailed knowledge of their ecosystems and, as true sentinels, are in the forefront for observing and reporting on the slightest alterations affecting the landscapes that they frequent daily and that they have contributed to shape over generations. Sentinel VIPs is envisioned as a task force of experts from the French Higher Education and Research sphere along with partner research and higher education organizations within the Indo-Pacific zone. The vocation of this task force is to investigate new ways of engaging into sustainability science by attuning academic sciences and Indigenous peoples' sciences through the co-construction of research. Sentinel VIPs' motto is to elicit holders of indigenous knowledge as relevant research partners.

This task force will reflect on the limits and constraints raised by the co-construction of research federating such contrasted experts. The primary purpose of the Sentinel VIPs is therefore not to perform research co-construction itself, but to advance the theoretical reflection on this co-construction approach, to advise research actions engaged in this way, and to increase the international visibility of IRD on this essential component of sustainability science, by, closely involving other academic partners — from French ESR sphere and from the intertropical region — in this collective thinking. The primary — yet not exclusive — targets of this assistance are some operational structures of IRD — young teams associated with IRD (JEAI) and International Joint Laboratories (IJL) — deployed throughout the Indo-Pacific region, but also the Global Hub on indigenous food systems supported by the FAO and of which IRD is one of the founding members.

On the basis of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established in 2015 by the United Nations, it is possible to invent a new research framework that would bring together experts from different scientific disciplines and create collective knowledge [...] In order to address the issue [of the future evolution of our planet], it is urgent to strengthen the joint construction of our knowledge systems by better integrating all scientific expertise, in close collaboration with political decision makers and civil society." Sentinel VIPs aims to investigate new ways of engaging in sustainability science by attuning academic science and Indigenous peoples' sciences through the co-construction of research. Sentinel VIPs' core principle is to consider holders of indigenous knowledge as research partners.

Sentinel VIPs will notably explore optimal ways to co-create research with Indigenous experts — of all gender and age categories — on cultural keystone biophysical resources that are highly valued by their communities, and which are known to reveal ongoing transformations affecting their ecosystems 5 . Cultural keystone resources contribute to the development of a more holistic perspective of ecosystems and provide us with one more avenue through which to emphasize the importance of species and habitats to particular peoples. When these resources are further recognized as bio-indicators — in the sense that their status within a given ecosystem informs us about the ecosystem's health — by researchers, they provide fertile ground for closer collaboration between academic and local experts because they consider exactly the same object, yet through distinct cultural prisms.




  • Responsable du projet
  • Institutions étrangères impliquées
    • Madagascar: (1) Univ d'Antananarivo, (2) Centre National de recherche sur l'Environnement
    • Cambodge: (1) Center for Khmer studies, (2)Ministry of Agriculture
    • Indonésie: (1) Universitas Indonesia (research centre for social and political sciences), (2) LIPI (research center for oceanography), (3) LIPI (research center for biology, ethnobotanical lab), (4) Regional research and development agency of West Papua, (5) Department of Forestry and Environment of West Papua
    • Laos: (1) Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute, (2) Ministry of Agriculture, (3) National University of Laos (Faculty of Social Sciences), Academy of Agricultural sciences
    • Thaïlande: Univ Chiang Mai


  • UMR impliquées
    • CEFE
    • AMAP
    • TransVIHMI
    • GRED
    • PALOC
    • URMIS
  • Disciplines

    Anthropology; ethnoscience ( ethnobotany, ethnozoology, ethnoecology, ethnobiology, ethnomedicine, ethnoclimatology, ethnolinguistics); political ecology; ecology; sociology of development)

Période 2021-2025