The workshop aims to strengthen operational research on innovative mosquito surveillance and control by focusing on populated Pacific island ecosystems. This event will contribute to consolidate existing and forge new collaborations between research institutions, engineering companies, representatives of Pacific countries, French overseas territories, regional and international organizations. It is part of an emerging international collaboration - IDEA Consortium - to develop the Pacific Islands, particularly French Polynesia, as a model system for sustainability science. Specifically, the workshop will deepen existing collaborations between labs in French Polynesia, France, the United States, United Kingdom, and Switzerland while bringing in new European (Germany, Spain) and Asia/Pacific (Singapore, Australia) partners to tackle the major societal challenge of emerging vector-borne diseases.
Statement of Purpose:
The workshop will take advantage of breakthroughs in molecular biology fostering a new generation of genetic technologies for insect control. Several of these approaches are being translated into operational tools by public institutions (e.g., ILM in French Polynesia, IAEA globally) as well as the private sector (e.g., Verily, USA). Applying these new technologies effectively and safely, however, requires greater understanding of the target species and their interaction with social-ecological system in different contexts around the world. It also relies on government oversight and evaluation (cost-benefit and risk analysis). Picking the right combination of these rapidly evolving technologies is further complicated by unprecedented social and environmental change at local and global scales. Together, these factors make the genetic control of disease vectors a rich area for basic and applied scientific research. Scenario-based planning tools coupled with pilot studies in well-quantified model social-ecological systems are vital to operationalizing innovative approaches for combatting vector-borne infectious disease. Developing policy frameworks to accelerate the safe application of these new technologies represents a pressing need for decision-makers in the Pacific and worldwide. Goals and anticipated outcome -- Our aim is to develop a framework of research of common importance to tropical island nations of the Pacific, and to formulate initial collaborative projects to advance operational research in vector surveillance and control.