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Nouméa, New Caledonia

The "Sustainable Micronutrient Interventions to Control Deficiencies and Improve Nutritional Status and General Health in Asia" project (SMILING), funded by the European Commission, is a transnational collaboration of research institutions and implementation agencies in five Southeast Asian countries--Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam--with European partners, to support the application of state-of-the art knowledge to alleviate micronutrient malnutrition in Southeast Asia. The major expected outcomes are to improve micronutrient status on a large scale, to identify priority interventions in each Southeast Asian country, and to develop a road map for decision makers and donors for inclusion of these priority interventions into the national policy. SMILING has been built around a strong project consortium that works on a constant and proactive exchange of data and analyses between partners and allows for the differences in contexts and development stages of the countries, as well as a strong North-South-South collaboration and colearning. The selection of Southeast Asian countries considered the range of social and economic development, the extent of micronutrient malnutrition, and capacity and past success in nutrition improvement efforts. SMILING is applying innovative tools that support nutrition policy-making and programming. The mathematical modeling technique combined with linear programming will provide insight into which food-based strategies have the potential to provide essential (micro) nutrients for women and young children. Multicriteria mapping will offer a flexible decision-aiding tool taking into account the variability and uncertainty of opinions from key stakeholders. The lessons learned throughout the project will be widely disseminated. Source

Betsem E.,Institute Pasteur Paris | Betsem E.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Betsem E.,University of Yaounde I | Rua R.,Institute Pasteur Paris | And 6 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2011

Human infection by simian foamy viruses (SFV) can be acquired by persons occupationally exposed to non-human primates (NHP) or in natural settings. This study aimed at getting better knowledge on SFV transmission dynamics, risk factors for such a zoonotic infection and, searching for intra-familial dissemination and the level of peripheral blood (pro)viral loads in infected individuals. We studied 1,321 people from the general adult population (mean age 49 yrs, 640 women and 681 men) and 198 individuals, mostly men, all of whom had encountered a NHP with a resulting bite or scratch. All of these, either Pygmies (436) or Bantus (1085) live in villages in South Cameroon. A specific SFV Western blot was used and two nested PCRs (polymerase, and LTR) were done on all the positive/borderline samples by serology. In the general population, 2/1,321 (0.2%) persons were found to be infected. In the second group, 37/198 (18.6%) persons were SFV positive. They were mostly infected by apes (37/39) FV (mainly gorilla). Infection by monkey FV was less frequent (2/39). The viral origin of the amplified sequences matched with the history reported by the hunters, most of which (83%) are aged 20 to 40 years and acquired the infection during the last twenty years. The (pro)viral load in 33 individuals infected by a gorilla FV was quite low (&1 to 145 copies per 10 5 cells) in the peripheral blood leucocytes. Of the 30 wives and 12 children from families of FV infected persons, only one woman was seropositive in WB without subsequent viral DNA amplification. We demonstrate a high level of recent transmission of SFVs to humans in natural settings specifically following severe gorilla bites during hunting activities. The virus was found to persist over several years, with low SFV loads in infected persons. Secondary transmission remains an open question. © 2011 Betsem et al. Source

Guerin I.,Paris-Sorbonne University | Guerin I.,Institute of Research for Development
Journal of Agrarian Change | Year: 2013

Drawing on a number of case studies from Tamil Nadu, this paper shows that bonded labour is not a relic of the past, but surprisingly contemporary. Refuting the tenets of the semi-feudal thesis, we argue that unfree labour can go hand in hand with capitalism, and that it can be initiated and sustained by capital itself in order to accumulate surplus value. Going against the tenets of the de-proletarianization thesis, we suggest that bonded labour is not always the preferred working arrangement for capitalism. Bonded labour should be examined in connection with specific historical contexts, the changing nature of the economy, the evolution of political forces and modes of socialization. I argue that bonded labour results from a specific regime of accumulation characterized by cheap labour, increased domestic demand sustained through household debt, as well as modes of conflict, contestation and worker identity formation that engage with both governmental programmes and consumerism. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Agency: GTR | Branch: NERC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 271.04K | Year: 2015

The climate of West Africa is subject to some of the most variable rainfall patterns observed anywhere in the world. In the past, the region has suffered several decades of severe droughts, whilst more recently major flood events have struck a number of the regions rapidly expanding cities. The consequences of these climatic extremes for the population have been particularly pronounced due to widespread and severe poverty. Global climate change, coming on top of such a variable and unpredictable regional climate, poses a major threat to the populations and economies of West Africa. Although the pathway from climate change to human suffering in West Africa is very short, there are some key bottlenecks to using climate projections to mitigate against risks to the population. Critical gaps exist in knowledge of how West African climate will change over the course of the 21st century, and the uncertainties make it almost impossible for agencies to deliver well-informed plans for the coming decades in critical areas such as food security, urban development and water. Even with the best climate information, it remains a significant challenge to integrate the scientific knowledge into planning and management structures. This collaborative project between scientists and policy makers in West Africa and Europe will, on the one hand, increase understanding of the regional climate and how it will change, and on the other, apply that knowledge to practical development questions. One of the key challenges for climate science is to understand how the changing composition of the atmosphere (notably CO2) will impact on the frequency and intensity of extreme events such as floods and droughts. In West Africa, these events are tied to the behaviour of convective rain storms; when storms are particularly intense or occur in rapid succession, devastating floods may result, whilst a week or two without storms during the wet season can trigger crop failure. Climate scientists rely on computer simulations of the global atmosphere, oceans and continents, yet these models have a very crude description of convective storms. For the first time, a new generation of regional climate models is emerging which realistically depict storms, and critically, how storms respond to factors such as land and ocean conditions, and increases in CO2. AMMA-2050 will use these new computer simulations alongside conventional climate models and historical observations, to understand why the statistics of key climate extremes are changing, and what this tells us about climate and its extremes in future decades. The outputs from the models will be used to examine impacts on key sectors in West African society, notably water and agriculture. Adaptation options will be explored, for example through the use of alternative crops, taking account of the inherent uncertainties in climate information, and the ways in which it is interpreted by decision-makers. We will focus on two questions. Firstly, in Senegal we will identify sustainable agricultural adaptation strategies and the policy frameworks to support those options. Secondly, we will examine how climate changes are likely to affect flooding in the rapidly growing city of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. The research and capacity building work of AMMA-2050 will help develop a new generation of African researchers and decision-makers, well-placed to respond to the requirements of West African nations. Within AMMA-2050, end-users have an important role, and their needs are embedded in project design and delivery, such that outputs will be responsive to their needs, and delivered in a format that is easily used. Enhanced resilience is an important aim of the project: it starts with improving our understanding of the climate signal over West Africa and leads through to decisions being made in specific pilot studies that showcase the importance of using improved and impact-sensitive science outputs.

News Article
Site: http://www.nature.com/nature/current_issue/

Amazonian catfish make the longest known freshwater migrations, covering thousands of kilometres, but their epic voyages are threatened by new dams. Brachyplatystoma catfish can measure up to three metres in length, and are top predators. To study their migrations, Fabrice Duponchelle of the Institute of Research for Development in Montpellier, France, and his colleagues analysed the strontium isotope ratio in ear bones from 37 Brachyplatystoma rousseauxii captured near breeding areas in the Amazon basin. The authors found correlations between the strontium make-up of the bones and that of rocks in different parts of the river system. They suggest that young fish migrate downstream in the lower Amazon, then return upstream as adults, swimming some 8,000 kilometres to the area where they were hatched. Two dams built recently on the Madeira River could prevent the fish from reaching their spawning grounds, which could have ripple effects through Amazonian food webs, the authors warn.

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