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Field Building Leadership Initiative (FBLI): Advancing Ecohealth in Southeast Asia and China

Field Building Leadership Initiative (FBLI): Advancing Ecohealth in Southeast Asia and China

Intensification of crop and livestock production can improve food, nutrition, and income security; however, intensification can also lead to increased health risks, environmental degradation, and biodiversity loss. This is especially true in Southeast Asia and China, regions facing rapid economic growth. To address this complex challenge, a better understanding of the interactions between agricultural practices, human health, and ecosystems is required.

The Field Building Leadership Initiative (FBLI), supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) from 10/2011 to 9/2016, has been working to understand and address intensive agricultural practices and associated health risks in Southeast Asia and China. Developed jointly by research centres in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, and launched in 2012, this five-year initiative allows researchers and their partners to carry out research, capacity building, and knowledge translation to inform practice and policy.

Key findings from the project include:

  • Evidences suggest that: 1) agricultural intensification increases risks to human, animal, and environmental health; and 2) application of Ecohealth approach can address some of the negative effects of agricultural intensification.
  • Increasing the capacity and involvement of farmers and other relevant stakeholders to apply Ecohealth principles and practices contributes to improved agricultural practices and health.
  • Capacity building activities – such as training for future leaders – improve the leadership skills and capabilities of current and future Ecohealth practitioners
  • Building up and sustaining the Ecohealth field in the region requires concerted efforts in research, capacity building and knowledge translation, underpinned by appropriate support from policy makers.

Policy Implications and Recommendations for Action

Based on the evidence and lessons emerging from five years of FBLI research, capacity building and knowledge translation work, there needs to be concerted efforts to convince governments and global/regional bodies in SEA - such as GHSA, ASEAN, FAO, WHO and USAID – to enable changes in agricultural policies and practices that are more Ecohealth friendly.

  • Increased investment in agricultural intensification research is warranted to further demonstrate the impacts of agricultural intensification on human, animal and environmental health, and to show that Ecohealth can be an appropriate approach to address agriculture intensification problems and solutions.
  • Health risks can be managed through improving the knowledge, attitudes and practices of farmers and other concerned stakeholders, and involving them throughout the project/activity cycle.
  • There is a strong need to continue training and education activities to groom future leaders and the next generation to better understand and apply Ecohealth principles and approach.
  • Policy makers should support the institutionalization of the Ecohealth field – including mainstreaming these approaches in regional and national agricultural plans – and commit to scale-up best practices throughout the region.

Partners: Center for Public Health and Ecosystem Research (CENPHER) at Hanoi School of Public Health, Vietnam; Center of Excellence for Vectors and Vector-Borne Diseases, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand; Institute for Health and Development Studies, Kunming Medical University, China; Faculty of Public Health, Universitas Indonesia; Veterinarians without Borders/Vétérinaires sans Frontières-Canada (VWB/VSF); Vietnam Public Health Association (VPHA).

Links to main project outputs: Project web-site,at IDRC website Synthesis book of FBLI

Contact: Dr Hung Nguyen-Viet FBLI regional coordinator (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Prof. Fang Jing, FBLI Research Component Leader (方菁) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


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FBLI CB Kunming

FBLI Indonesia Poster FBLI RCG Meeting

FBLI regional policy brief

FBLI Research Kunming Final

FBLI short description for Kunming Research final meeting

FBLI Vietnam Ecohealth training Hanh Kunming FBLI final workshop

FBLI Vietnam overview

Indonesia Capacity Building Final Report FBLI RCG Meeting

Indonesia Knowledge Translation Final Report FBLI RCG Meeting

Indonesia KT Policy Brief Draft

Indonesia Research Final Report FBLI RCG Meeting