IIED's best of 2016: publications

02 January 2017

IIED published hundreds of publications during 2016, ranging from briefings to infographics to in-depth reports and books. Here are the top 10 most downloaded, with links to related blogs and project pages.

Some of the publications published by IIED during 2016 (Image: Annette McGill/IIED)

In order to make IIED's work as widely available as possible, all the publications in this top-10 list can be downloaded free of charge in PDF format.

You can also search all our publications, both formal published works and informal literature, from our Publications Library, which in 2016 was upgraded to be faster and more accessible on mobile pages. We offer libraries and resource centres in the global South our publications free of charge: to find out more, please contact us.

Here is our top 10 for 2016:


Evaluation: a crucial ingredient for SDG success

Evaluation: a crucial ingredient for SDG successThe 2030 Agenda for sustainable development calls for follow-up and review processes that examine progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Such processes are needed at all levels, but especially at the national level. 

To be useful to policymakers and citizens, review processes must incorporate rigorous, country led evaluations that examine policy and programme implementation and effectiveness, and build well-supported cases for claims of progress. This briefing paper looks at how evaluation must go beyond measurement, to consider whether progress is equitable, relevant and sustainable. 

Read more: This is the first in a collection of briefings by EVALSDGs and IIED.


Unlocking climate finance for decentralised energy access

Unlocking climate finance for decentralised energy accessAchieving energy access for everyone requires more and better targeted investment, but what role does climate finance play in filling the funding gaps? This 48-page working paper examines data on the major climate funds to assess what share of international public finance goes toward energy access and compares this to overall finance needs for the sector. 

It discusses the flow of climate finance to decentralised energy, which is a key priority for achieving universal access, and identifies key funding blockers, highlighting the experiences from Bangladesh and Nepal.

Read more: This blog discusses the barriers to Green Climate Funds reaching local-level, small scale energy projects.


Social Assessment for Protected Areas (SAPA) methodology manual for SAPA facilitators

Social Assessment for Protected Areas (SAPA) methodology manual for SAPA facilitatorsThis 72-page manual provides detailed guidance for using the Social Assessment for Protected Areas methodology. SAPA is a simple and low cost methodology that assesses the positive and negative impacts of a protected area (PA) and any related conservation and development activities on the wellbeing of communities living in and around the PA. 

The methodology uses a combination of community workshops to identify significant social impacts; a short household survey to explore these impacts; and a stakeholder workshop to validate the survey results, explore other key issues and generate suggestions for action.

Read more: The methodology above was developed as part of the 'Assessing social impacts of protected areas project'. Research into how SAPA has been practically applied at protected area sites across four African countries was discussed at a side event at the Convention on Biological Diversity conference in Cancun, Mexico in December.  


Chinese businesses in Africa. Perspectives on corporate social responsibility and the role of Chinese government policies

Chinese businesses in Africa. Perspectives on corporate social responsibility and the role of Chinese government policiesChina's business engagement in developing countries has grown rapidly in the past decade through direct investment, contract projects and trade. This 48-page discussion paper explores the role that Chinese policies and guidelines play in governing Chinese companies overseas, through the experiences and perceptions of representatives in those companies. 

Key findings from Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda show a complex governance environment affecting the companies' social and environmental behaviours – in which Chinese policies play only a small role.

Read more: Learn how IIED is working to improve China's role as an international development actor.


Urbanisation, rural-urban migration and urban poverty

Urbanisation, rural-urban migration and urban povertyRural-urban migration continues to attract much interest, but also growing concern. Migrants are often blamed for increasing urban poverty, although not all migrants are poor. In many cases when city governments try to reduce or control rural-urban migration, their actions impact low-income residents and not just migrants.  

This 34-page working paper, published in 2015 but still the subject of significant interest this year, looks at the role of municipal governments in addressing rural-urban migration and urban poverty. It suggests that in many cases, local governments lack information, resources and, perhaps most importantly, political will. 

Read more: IIED's Human Settlements research group is working with partners around the world to identify the challenges and opportunities related to urbanisation and rural-urban migration. The Urban Matters blog focuses on urban poverty, climate change in cities and rural-urban linkages.


Informality and inclusive green growth

Informality and inclusive green growthThis 65-page report captures some of the evidence, insights, and guiding principles presented at the 'The biggest private sector: what place for the informal economy in green and inclusive growth?' conference held in London in February 2016. 

The conference aimed to build a new policy agenda for integrating the informal economy into inclusive green growth and sustainable development.

Read more: Mao Amis, the founder of the African Centre for Green Economy, asks if the informal economy could provide the way forward for the green growth agenda.


Meaningful community engagement in the extractive industries: stakeholder perspectives and research priorities

Meaningful community engagement in the extractive industries: Stakeholder perspectives and research prioritiesThe term 'meaningful' has started to appear in international standards and guidance for stakeholder consultation and engagement that are applied to the extractive industries. This 52-page paper explores whether there is a shared understanding of what 'meaningful community engagement' means in the context of extractive industry development. 

It discusses the challenges faced by companies, governments and civil society organisations in ensuring that community engagement processes are meaningful in practice, some of the good practices that are now emerging, and what is required to ensure that 'meaningful community engagement' leads to better sustainable development outcomes.

Read more: IIED's Shaping Sustainable Markets research group explores how the formal and informal rules used to govern markets are designed, and how they impact on people, the planet and the economy.


Ecosystem-based adaptation: a win-win formula for sustainability in a warming world?

Ecosystem-based adaptation: a win–win formula for sustainability in a warming world?Many national and international environmental agreements acknowledge that ecosystem depletion is limiting the world's capacity to adapt to climate change, and that ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) approaches should be harnessed as a priority. 

EbA has the potential to increase adaptive capacity and social and ecological resilience to climate change in both developed and developing countries. However, countries are not universally committed to setting robust targets and implementing EbA approaches. This briefing paper highlights actions that need to be taken to increase the uptake of EbA in national action plans and ensure its proper implementation.

Read more: How IIED is working to strengthen the evidence base for communities playing a key role in ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation.


Urbanising Thailand – a closer look; implications for climate vulnerability assessment

Urbanising Thailand - a closer look; implications for climate vulnerability assessmentThis 55-page report summarises a series of studies focused on the dynamics of urbanisation and climate change risks, and on the linkages between urbanisation, climate change and emerging patterns of urban poverty and vulnerability. It provides new and key insights, serving as a foundation for further research on urban climate vulnerability and resilience.

Rapid physical and social transformations are taking place across countries in Southeast Asia, yet the implications contributing to vulnerability are less well understood. Drawing on a review of historical patterns of urbanisation and future risks associated with climate change, this research argues for a fundamental rethinking of future urbanisation in Thailand.

Read more: The Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) is an eight-year, multi-country initiative working with cities across the world to increase resilience to climate change. IIED is a regional partner within ACCCRN.


Responding to the Syrian crisis in Lebanon: collaboration between aid agencies and local governance structures

Responding to the Syrian crisis in Lebanon: collaboration between aid agencies and local governance structuresLebanon's refugee crisis has highlighted the need for much closer coordination among the various organisations and local authorities involved in the response. This 44-page working paper analyses existing collaboration mechanisms in relation to the Syrian crisis in Lebanon and provides a series of recommendations on how national, local and international humanitarian actors can work together more effectively to enhance urban refugee responses in Lebanon, and perhaps in other countries.

In the context of a protracted urban crisis, this paper argues that humanitarians will only be able to ensure their responses are sustainable and meet needs on the ground if they work closely with local authorities.

Read more: Urban areas are increasingly the sites of humanitarian crises, from natural disasters to conflict and displacement. Through the Urban Crises Learning Fund, a programme of research, documenting and learning from experience and development of tools and approaches, IIED is working to build the knowledge and capacity to respond of humanitarian actors working in urban areas, and of urban actors facing humanitarian crises.