Top ten highlights from 2011

December is traditionally the month of 'top 10s'. Every year, as journalists, bloggers, commentators and organisations across the world reflect on the year that's gone, the online world is flooded by lists highlighting the highs and lows. Search in Google and you'll instantly have to hand more than 150 million top 10 lists for 2011.

What does the list look like for IIED? Here are some of our highlights from 2011:

  1. Shaping the debate on sustainable forests. Throughout 2011, the International year of forests, IIED has been working to shift the balance of power to local people and increase recognition of the importance of locally controlled forestry.

  2. Challenging conventional wisdom. A series of travelling provocative seminars across Europe in the first quarter of 2011 challenged conventional thinking on how to include smallholders in markets and brought fresh perspectives to the discussion on what works and why.

  3. Sharing learning in community-based adaptation. The fifth international conference on community-based adaptation to climate change (CBA) — held in Bangladesh in March — brought together researchers, practitioners and policymakers to share knowledge and experience in planning and practicing adaptation at different levels.

  4. Strengthening academic literature. Now in its 24th year of publication, IIED's journal Environment & Urbanization is one of the world's most widely read and distributed journals in its field and now includes a lively blog from its editors and authors on urban issues in Africa, Asia and Latin America

  5. Promoting dialogue on a green economy. With the Green Economy Coalition, IIED has worked closely with local partners to coordinate national dialogues in Mali and the Caribbean on what a green economy means to developing countries.

  6. Advancing knowledge on market governance. In May, IIED's Sustainable Markets Group launched Shaping Sustainable Markets — a major research initiative to explore how formal and informal rules used to govern markets (market governance mechanisms) are designed and how they impact people, the planet and the economy.

  7. Tackling forest governance. Through Justice in the forests — a series of short films launched in May — the Forest Governance Learning Group showed how small teams can have a big impact in tackling forest governance.

  8. Moving home. In September, we said goodbye to our London home of 27 years in Endsleigh Street and moved to new offices in Gray's Inn Road, where we have better facilities for flexible working, stronger connectivity and more efficient energy use.

  9. Turning 40. This year we had our 40th birthday, which we are celebrating with a series of seminars, lectures and social events throughout late 2011 and early 2012.

  10. Supporting equitable solutions to climate change. IIED was present throughout the UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa in December — sharing learning from our research, training journalists and providing analysis on the event.

Of course, our work extends far beyond this short list of achievements. More information on, and insights to, our activities can be found in our 2010–2011 Annual Report as well as on our website.

2011 has certainly been a busy and exciting year. As it draws to a close I'd like to thank you for your continued support and wish you all a happy holiday. I look forward to you joining us in 2012 in our ongoing efforts to achieve our mission to build a fairer, more sustainable world using evidence, action and influence in partnership with others.

Camilla Toulmin is the Director of IIED.

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