Project title Development of capacity-building to close the gap between biodiversity and human health
Implementing Institutions FIOCRUZ - Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fundação Oswaldo Cruz)
Biodiversity & Health Institutional Program
Center for Information on Wildlife Health (CISS)
Av. Brasil 4036, sala 214 - Prédio da Expansão
Rio de Janeiro - RJ
CEP 21.040-361 - Brazil

LNCC - National Laboratory for Scientific Computing (Laboratório Nacional de Computação Científica)
Av. Getúlio Vargas 333, Quitandinha
Petrópolis - RJ
CEP 25651-075 - Brazil

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Instituto de Biología
Tercer Circuito Exteriro s/n, Ciudad Universitaria
Mexico City, Mexico 04510

Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia - CONACyT
Instituto de Ecología, A.C.
Carretera antigua a Coatepec 351, El Haya, Xalapa 91070, Veracruz, México

Country(ies) Brazil and Mexico (with possibilities to be expanded to Portuguese-speaking and Latin America countries and other megadiverse and underdevelopment countries)
Abstract Environmental changes, including biodiversity loss, are determining factors for the emergence of diseases originating from wildlife and increase the potential to spill over into humans. Taking advantage of new and mobile technologies as well as joining people, Fiocruz aims to educate and provide capacity-building for social actors and professionals to strengthen participatory network in this subject. The generation and use of biodiversity data allow the society and policymakers to embody information and scientific knowledge into good practices, services and policies.
Project Description Recent efforts by CDB and WHO, with contribution of Fiocruz, approach the scientific and political discussions on the relationship between human health and biodiversity. Among these relationships there is a global concern on the emergence of zoonoses arising from wildlife. Environmental changes, including biodiversity loss, are determining factors not only for the emergence of diseases originated from wildlife but also can be the source of the selective forces of new genetic variations that lead to spillover and infects human. So, there is reason to pursue actions to improve knowledge on biodiversity parasites and monitor them to anticipate problems. This approach has been strengthened by international and governments' programs which apply considerable resources to trace pathogens worldwide. For large, developing and megadiverse countries, such as Brazil and Mexico, monitoring animal diseases is a huge challenge. To face this problem, Fiocruz developed the Information System on Wildlife Health--SISS-Geo. By mobilizing ordinary people and experts, SISS-Geo allows the registration of animal occurrences through mobile devices. Using data-driven and geospatial computational modeling, it generates alerts and predictions of the emergence of diseases. However, citizen participation needs to be strengthened, new specialists need to be formed and acquire novel knowledge using biodiversity data, computational tools and innovative ecological approaches. The results need to be mapped into good practices for society and incorporated into health and environmental practices and services. 
Project Objectives and expected Achievables In Brazil, monitoring and predicting impacts on human health and biodiversity face a significant challenge due to its cultural and ecosystem diversity. Not only that, but economic and social difficulties severely impact the amount of resources devoted to health, conservation and scientific research. All of this has motivated and ultimately led Fiocruz to create a technological tool available to mobile devices and the Center for Information on Wildlife Health (CISS), aiming at contributing to the sanitary surveillance and the wildlife conservation plans.

The goal of the Center is to empower people and decision makers' perceptions about the importance of biodiversity conservation for the welfare and health. Therefore, it is necessary to know the diversity of pathogens in nature, correlate them to biological communities, pathogenic and genetics aspects and to anthropic impacts in areas where transmission and diseases occur. Considering the complex evolutionary relationships governing relations among parasites, hosts and vectors, this is a challenging task, but strategically important in face of the globalization, persistence of poverty in human populations and growing environmental change. In this scenario, awareness is not enough. It is necessary to expand the knowledge to diverse social actors as well as health and environmental services.  Moreover, joining expertise and data from multiple areas allows to generate capacity to transform knowledge into best practices which support sustainable local development and respect traditional cultures.

Evaluating existing technologies, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) has identified a need and came to develop the Information System on Wildlife Health - SISS-Geo ( which aims to: provide a quick and efficient flow of information between the Information Center for Wildlife Health (CISS) from Fiocruz and multiple institutions/national organizations, such as the different centers of biodiversity monitoring, leading to the creation of participatory networks; create models from the data augumented with georeferenced information to calculate ecological opportunities of zoonosis and generate alerts and forecasting of threats to wildlife and human health in order to act as a sentinel system for emerging and reemerging diseases and also provide the results of spatial modeling to the scientific community and policymakers.

The involved technologies are data-driven modeling and high-performance computing, but their applications are not obvious, given the need to integrate information from different sources, the complexity and dimensionality of the data to be manipulated and the sensitivity involved in the use and dissemination of such data. Furthemore, the creation of maps is known to enable a better understanding of the factors associated with wildlife health, and also allows the planning and adoption of preventive measures to the maintenance of healthy systems.

Therefore, the goals of this project, besides facilitating the understanding of the importance of biodiversity to the environment and health, are:

- To develop the capacity of key groups including groups and organizations that work on boundaries of  Brazilian Conservation Units (UCs) and community health agents.

- To strengthen implementing institutions, professionals, students and technicians from Portuguese and Spanish speakers to work with data-driven, ecological and geospatial models aiming to generate automated alert and ecological opportunities forecasting models for the emergent zoonosis arising from biodiversity.

- To strengthen wildlife participatory networks to validate the models in field and in laboratory and offer support for surveillance and prevention in human and animal health, species and ecosystem conservation.

- To diffuse and analyze methods, results and progresses across the society, stakeholders and scientific academy in order to influence public policies which consider the importance of biodiversity for health.

--- These objectives are established considering:

- Brazil and Mexico are big and megadiverse countries.  This wealth of ecosystems and large territory make biodiversity monitoring and protection of the UCs difficult. In this way the use of SISS-Geo, through mobile devices (Android and iOS), will allow the acquisition of important data required for monitoring health and will also contribute to biodiversity monitoring in UCs. Brazil has a large territory (~8,500,000 km2) and 1828 Conservation Units (UCs) in different biomes (Amazon, Caatinga, Pampa, Atlantic Forest, Pantanal, Cerrado), which 568 classified as full protection and 1260 as sustainable use. Mexico has 1,964,375 km2 with diverse ecosystems such as high mountains, deep sea, deserts, coral reefs, cloud forests and coastal lagoons. There are many protected areas at state and community level and 176 natural protected areas at federal level including: 66 national parks, 41 biosphere reserves, 38 flora and fauna protected areas, 18 natural sanctuaries, 8 natural resources protection areas and 5 natural monuments.

- The integration of SISS-Geo with the Information System on the Brazilian Biodiversity (SiBBr) will provide relevant data and new algorithms to GBIF biodiversity databases and models.

- Currently, Brazil has 5570 municipalities and each of them has many family health agent teams. These professionals are directly in contact with the families living in and around natural areas who often use natural resources and environmental services.

- The necessity to develop low cost technologies and user friendly systems, allowing its application in different economic and social context.

- The opportunity to further develop ecological studies of diseases with Mexican researchers

- The possibility of making this project replicable to Portuguese and Spanish language speakers and still others that present situation similar to those of Brazil.

- The Brazilian Network for Participation in Wildlife Health (RePSS) launched in 2012 during the 1st Brazilian Conference on Wildlife and Human Health that consists of researchers, specialists, professionals in diverse areas and society who share interest in the theme and are willing to collaborate with the Information System on Wildlife Health (SISS-Geo) and other activities of CISS. The Wildlife Health Laboratory Network (ReLSS) organized on a voluntary basis aiming to link the demands for diagnosis of circulating pathogens in wildlife animals in Brazil. Despite being composed, this participatory networks is still incipient, which makes its strengthening necessary.

- The importance of organizing specific scientific events for the discussion of the relationship of human health and biodiversity.

Timeframe 3 years
Geographic Scale Multinational
Seeking Resources for: Project implementation
Type of Resources/Support needed: Financial, Technical
Project relevance: 
Projects and activities of interest to IPBES and partners