Between 10-13 December 2011, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) led project on ecosystem approaches to the better management of zoonotic emerging infectious diseases in Southeast Asia (EcoZD) convened a progress meeting in Bangkok. Chaired by program coordinator Jeff Gilbert of ILRI, the conference provided the seventy nine attendees an opportunity to reflect on the initial two years of the program; they could also coordinate and apply lessons for the final eighteen months of the project as teams finalise their research.
Through the course of the meeting there was an overarching theme regarding the gains to be had from continuing to foster a higher degree of both cross-country, and trans-disciplinary collaboration given the unique multi-country, multidisciplinary nature of the project. This idea of greater collaboration lent itself well to the conferences other overriding theme – to further integrate EcoHealth concepts into the program’s work.
In keeping with these themes – the weekend saw a cross-country breakout session facilitated by ILRI’s Purvi Mehta in which participants collectively identified capacity development gaps and ways to bridge them. This was a particularly helpful discussion given the programs inherit complexities in attempting to extend awareness of EcoHealth concepts among such a large and diverse range of stakeholders.
The conference also witnessed notable presentations from Dinh Xuan Tung of the International Development Research Centre (IRDC) on their Field Building Leadership Initiative, and also Rainer Asse and Korapin Tohtubtiang of ILRI who facilitated a discussion on outcome mapping.
Rainer Asse of ILRI reflects on the meeting: