Mis à jour le 21/12/22

Health and human well-being are recognized by the United Nations as a fundamental right. However, it is increasingly recognized that growing pressures on our environment threaten the current and future health of humans through a gradual degradation of healthbenefiting ecosystem services that can contribute to human well-being. To this extent, deforestation may result in the loss of ecosystem and biodiversity services such as carbon sinks, leading to increased climate change risk, and major changes in animal communities that may have implications for an increase of Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) transmission potential. Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 23% of global deaths are related to unhealthy environments.

Moreover, vulnerable human populations with close dependence on natural resources are especially impacted by degradation of natural ecosystems and the consecutive pathogen exposure. Economic studies suggest that circulation of reservoir- or vector-borne and parasitic diseases, which can be accurately predicted by ecological conditions and notably biodiversity loss, can sustain poverty status in the tropics where extreme poverty is concentrated. In this context, recent policy-making organizations have acknowledged these important synergies and have called for the development of decision-support tools to assist countries in developing implementation strategies to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and support progress on international and national environment and health targets. Despite these critical links, health, environment, social sciences and economic scientific communities have typically worked in isolated silos, with little coordination. Moreover, the demonstrated link between reduction of vertebrate biodiversity and transmission increase of zoonotic pathogens clearly calls for investigating the possibility to use biodiversity conservation strategies as a public health opportunity. However, to be resilient and sustainable, such win-win strategy has also to consider that natural resources consumption is strongly linked with local economic growth, which is also reciprocally impacted by exposure to zoonotic pathogens. Understanding this whole complex system could allow designing intriguing and innovative strategies respecting population health, economic development and biodiversity conservation.

  • Objectifs de recherche

    To this extent, Mexico has an extraordinarily important role to play. This emerging economy clearly suffers from ecosystem alteration (especially agriculture and deforestation), large economic and social inequalities, as well as and pathogen spreading (as the epicenter of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemics, the recent circulation of Zika virus and recurrent outbreaks of dengue). Nevertheless, this country has the capacity and willingness to implement scientifically-based solutions on the field thanks to much respected institutions such as the federal university (UNAM) and the public health agency (INSP). Moreover, his example can disseminate throughout the whole region, and especially to the vulnerable populations as well as to the countries with the highest poverty rates (such as Guatemala and Haiti). The proposed international laboratory (LMI) ELDORADO, which will be based in Mexico City and working in the Yucatan peninsula, aims consolidating existing multidisciplinary research projects of an international group of scientists proposing a novel and integrated research strategy to figure out this complex system through four main objectives:

    1. improving our knowledge on the relationship between ecosystem alteration, human behavior and risk of emerging zoonotic infections,
    2. providing scientifically-based and integrative strategies for public health and environmental authorities combining human health, biodiversity conservation and economic growth through a format of sustainable development toolkit,
    3. setting up a strong regional capacity building strategy to make Mexico a regional and world leader on these issues through the collaboration with the IRD and (iv) initiating the creation of a new center on the UNAM campus in Merida focusing on fundamental and translational research of sustainable sciences.
  • Porteurs du LMI
  • Unité de recherche de l’IRD
    • UMR IRD/CNRS/Université de Montpellier UMR224  MIVEGEC
    • UMI IRD/Sorbonne Université UMI209  UMMISCO



    • Partenaires


      • Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
      • Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH)
    • Partenaires associés


      • Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (INSP, Cuernavaca, México), Mexican Association for
      • Conservation Medicine (Kalaan-Kab, Mexico City, Mexico), Wildlife Conservation Society of Guatemala (Guatemala, Guatemala), Quisqueya University (Port-au-Prince, Haiti).


      • EcoHealth Alliance (New York, NY, USA)


    • Mots-clés

      OneHealth; Public health; Evolutionary ecology; Zoonoses;

    • Priorité(s) thématique(s) et discipline(s)

      Ecology for public health


    Année de création : 2020