In 2015 world leaders stand poised to chart a new course for sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals they adopt, the climate change deal they strike, and the subsequent pacts that follow, will all serve to frame international development cooperation for the next 15 years.
If they are to end poverty, raze inequalities, and safeguard the world's ecological health, they must speak to the needs and priorities of the world's most vulnerable citizens and communities, and reflect the diversity of credible research, including that from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
IIED has long worked to amplify the voices of marginalised groups in decision making, and over the past 12 months we have focused much effort on the debate and diplomacy leading up to the year's landmark summits. From assessing the fairness of who pays for change, to supporting LDC negotiators, we have been doing what we do best: linking local priorities to global challenges.
This online annual report offers a snapshot of our work over the past year. Navigate to read stories about some of our programmes and projects, and learn how IIED is making a difference.
After three years of debate and negotiation, 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been developed to provide a blueprint for a fairer, greener world that balances the economic, social and environmental dimensions of prosperity and human well-being.
These were due to be adopted in September 2015 to drive the global development agenda until 2030. But can they really fulfil global ambitions to tackle poverty, reduce inequality, combat climate change and protect ecosystems?
This year, IIED commissioned an animation to capture the universal ambition set out in the SDGs by presenting the lives and hopes of five characters around the world. It calls on citizens everywhere to speak out and hold global leaders to account: to recognise our responsibilities and demand the future we want.
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development
IIED has been helping to establish a global alliance of civil society organisations for clean energy access (ACCESS) to engage more strategically in policy debates and planning, and support an energy SDG that puts the wellbeing of the poorest first.
We have highlighted the data needs underpinning Goal 11, addressing the challenge of making cities climate-resilient, supporting locally controlled funds and documenting how these can be used to improve local conditions in ways that make people less vulnerable to climate-related shocks and stresses.
Through initiatives such as Measure What Matters, we have helped highlight the risks of incoherent SDG indicators and demonstrated the state of indicator misalignment in water measurement.
Using evidence from the latest assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we have analysed the projected impacts of climate change on the LDCs' ability to achieve each SDG.
Working with the Independent Research Forum, IIED and partners have outlined a practical 'modular' approach to implementing the SDGs that cuts across goals and enables a more integrated approach to forests.
We hosted our second annual event on sustainable fisheries and, in particular, how to fund them. Fish Night 2 brought together academics, civil society, scientists and students to share the latest thinking on impact investments, government taxes and subsidies as potential financing mechanisms for sustainable fisheries.
At IIED, we focus on ensuring a global partnership is built with the perspectives and priorities of the world's most vulnerable centre stage. We work with the Least Developed Country (LDC) Independent Experts Group (IEG) to provide ideas that support fair and effective goals, and promote leadership from the LDCs at the UN level.
Our partners across the globe have told us what one looks like to them...
In West Africa, governments often view large dams as a panacea for development. Dams offer the potential to generate power, irrigate crops and provide jobs and money - but for whom?
If dams are a cure-all, they must work not only at the national level, but also to serve the rural communities that live on the land earmarked for construction or flooding.
Through the Global Water Initiative in West Africa, IIED and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are working to protect local rights and livelihoods. These photos, taken for GWI West Africa in villages around the Sélingué dam in Mali, show that when it comes to supporting local smallholder farmers, one size won’t fit all.
people will be displaced by the planned Fomi dam in Guinea
large-scale dams have already been built in West Africa; 90 of these support irrigation
Credit: All photos courtesy of Mike Goldwater/GWI
A wave of large land deals is sweeping across Africa, Asia and Latin America. But the companies, relationships, processes and incentives involved - the 'investment chains' - remain frustratingly obscure. To raise awareness at grassroots level around the world, IIED produced an animation explaining investment chains and where they present opportunities for fairer outcomes.
It is estimated that two thirds of Indonesia's palm oil production is managed by multinational companies
Among our work to promote fairness in conservation policy and practice, we developed and tested a participatory approach for assessing conservation impacts on local communities. Our research in Uganda shows that communities often start poaching because they think conservation practices are unjust. We are designing a framework for promoting fairness in protected areas management. We are also working with environmental lawyers Natural Justice on human rights in conservation.
Once I went into the [protected] park and they arrested me and charged me. But if a gorilla or baboon comes onto my land and ruins my crops they don't charge the gorilla and compensate me.
How can you convince the public of the importance of integrating conservation and development? The music video 'Imagine Bwindi' celebrates the beautiful and richly varied wildlife of Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and raises awareness about the relationship between the Park and the surrounding Batwa communities.
Imagine Bwindi if all resources were accurately shared... We are in this together, why not be partners
Forests need good governance to balance conservation and exploitation. This year we worked with partners from 14 countries to develop 19 case studies of businesses that have successfully reconciled complex economic, social and environmental concerns. These case studies provide a detailed evidence-based resource for partners seeking to develop their own models of democratic forest governance.
Sweden maintains 50% of its forest under local control (by cooperative businesses) and has among the highest forest cover in the world at 70% and the lowest social inequity as a result
IIED supported the ability of indigenous peoples to deal with climate change by organising farmer-to-farmer exchanges, undertaking advocacy and developing tools to safeguard 'biocultural heritage' - the knowledge and biological resources of indigenous peoples. We produced a photofilm on Biocultural Heritage Territories, and in May our work helped to produce the Bhutan Declaration on Climate Change and Mountain Indigenous Peoples.
IIED and partners have been working in Africa's forests, mines, markets and rural communities to look at the socioeconmic and environmental impacts of informal markets, and the roles of local and Chinese participants. Our work has shown the need for targeted policy responses in both Africa and China that will strengthen resource governance in African countries and support more sustainable resource production in China.
More than 75% of Africa's timber exports go to China
The government could take away our land and trees at any moment, so we'd rather sell all the trees to the Chinese as soon as we can.
An innovative pilot project in Kenya is putting local people in control when it comes to financing adaptation to climate change – and results have been impressive.
The project has set up 'County Adaptation Funds' in five Kenyan counties that are subject to severe drought. It puts money directly into the hands of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities, empowering them to draw on their knowledge of the land and climate to adapt to climate change.
IIED is a member of the Adaptation Consortium, which is piloting the project. This year the adaptation fund in Isiolo County completed its second round of investment, which included £500,000 from the UK government.
Working with traditional local institutions, or 'dedhas', Isiolo's county government, supported by the Adaptation Consortium, has evaluated the impact of the first round, and the findings showed some clear successes...
The five counties piloting the County Adaptation Fund cover 29% of Kenya's land area
Adaptation Consortium wins the 'Outstanding International Collaboration' category of the British Expertise International Awards
Isiolo's approach is proving to be both tactical and sustainable – aiding best use of existing resources and building collective knowledge to face future extremes. The results are cause for confidence in what can be achieved with future investment.
In the next year the Isiolo County Adaptation Fund is likely to become a public fund. This means it will be able to draw on national and county budgets and be less reliant on foreign aid. Importantly, this will allow Kenya's National Drought Management Authority to access the UN’s Green Climate Fund for adaptation financing.
IIED is proud to be part of the consortium that has worked on this pioneering project. Its decentralised funding model reflects IIED's belief in self-determination: a fair share of climate funding, in local hands, can be a powerful model for poor communities around the world.
A fair climate change agreement must be influenced by those with most at stake: the people of the world's Least Developed Countries (LDCs). IIED is providing legal, strategic and technical support to the LDC Group at the 2015 UN climate talks. This work is reflected in the UN negotiating documents, in stronger alliances with other negotiating blocs and in growing media coverage. We continue to work closely with the LDC Group to prepare for the decisive UN climate conference in Paris in December 2015.
There are 48 countries in the Least Developed Countries Group
The pace of negotiations has accelerated and issues under discussion are only increasing in complexity, but the LDCs remain fully committed to a successful and ambitious outcome in Paris.
Climate diplomat Pa Ousman Jarju undertook the first climate-focused mission representing the LDC Group to China in March 2015. There he met prominent and influential government climate representatives, policymakers and NGOs to explore how the LDCs and China can work together, now and post-2015. IIED supports the LDCs in forging these pioneering connections: we provide legal, technical and strategic support as they build important bridges on their route to an equitable and sustainable future.
While many only paid attention to the words of the powerful at the summit, I heard bold pledges from my own group of nations. The LDCs have set an inspiring example for others to follow.
In early 2015, IIED and the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), based in Bangladesh, formalised their 'strategic partnership'. Over the past year, researchers from IIED and ICCCAD collaborated on themes including urban challenges, climate finance and governance. They will continue to work together to inform the world about climate change and development, and increase the capacity of those in the global South who are most affected by it.
This partnership has allowed ICCCAD to develop its international work – in both undertaking research and South-South knowledge sharing – to support climate resilience action across the developing world.
IIED is exploring the political economy behind climate resilient development: the key factors that influence the effectiveness of finance for climate change adaptation and mitigation. This year we supported two in-country learning hubs that brought together NGOs and government departments (from finance to forestry) to look at global and national climate finance. The hubs, organised with ICCCAD in Bangladesh and Echnoserve in Ethiopia, helped delegates gain a shared understanding of how policies work and consider strategies to ensure that investments protect the most vulnerable.
Global climate finance is set to reach US$100 billion every year by 2020
Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is characterised by informality, environmental risk, operational dangers and social and political marginalisation. Its sheer scale offers huge potential for social transformation: ASM forms the livelihood for an estimated 20-30 million people, including many of the world’s poorest citizens.
IIED has begun an ambitious programme of work designed to encourage a move to more responsible and inclusive mining. Working with partners, we are mapping the ‘ASM landscape’: the people involved and their relationships and realities. Our work is rooted in reality: we travelled to Tanzania's Geita gold mining district to discover the human stories of diggers, drivers, geologists, mining officers and village elders. Their images provide a constant reminder of their perspectives.
ASM has many stakeholders, including artisanal miners, small and large mining companies, governments, civil society and donors. Bringing these interest groups together is no easy task. In April, we organised an international meeting for more than 40 ASM stakeholders. By the end of this ‘visioning’ workshop, we had agreed that in a sector where most miners operate informally, developing and implementing good formalisation policies that enshrine land, mineral and human rights will be critical.
We are now planning a series of in-country dialogues on ASM, where local stakeholders can identify their own context-specific challenges and opportunities. The first event is scheduled for Ghana in November, 2015. We will work with a local partner to ensure the dialogue is grounded in the local context, with parity of voice across all stakeholders, including artisanal and small-scale miners.
We are also working with the Alliance for Responsible Mining and others to develop a common framework and toolkit for achieving a more inclusive and sustainable sector.
Credit: All photos Brian Sokol/Panos Pictures
ounces of Ghana's gold - 35.4% - was produced by formal small-scale mining in 2014
people are employed in Ghana's ASM sector, with several millions more involved in related industries
of artisanal and small-scale miners in Ghana are women
of artisanal and small-scale miners in Ghana operate without a legal licence
The hilsa fish is central to the livelihoods of half a million people in Bangladesh. The government has introduced a seasonal fishing ban to conserve hilsa stocks. It compensates local fishermen for lost income. IIED and partners are working to ensure that the compensation scheme works. Our proposed 'Hilsa Conservation Trust Fund' offers crucial financial sustainability. Bangladesh's Prime Minister has approved the fund, and we are now seeking seed money.
Macher raja ilish is a popular Bengali saying, meaning 'Hilsa is the king of fish'
I give you assurance that all possible measures will be taken by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock for establishment of the Hilsa Conservation Trust Fund.
The informal economy is big and growing. Its problems are well-known, but its resilient entrepreneurial energy is often overlooked. We worked with local partners to find and share innovative examples of market formalisation, for example dialogues to help relocate street-vendors to safer spaces, and projects supporting workers in e-waste. This work is building up to a showcase event in 2016 that aims to set a new policy agenda for genuinely inclusive sustainable development.
In East and Southern Africa, up to 95 per cent of food is sold in informal markets
Organisations working for sustainable resource management are increasingly looking to schemes offering payments for ecosystem services (PES), which work by paying landholders and communities to protect natural resources. This year IIED and Hivos collaborated with partners in Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Nicaragua and Peru to explore how far PES, in the form of carbon offsets, can finance smallholder agriculture. We found they can work, but there are considerable challenges to be overcome.
Buyers' trust in existing systems and credibility along the value chain is key to accessing international streams of revenue. It comes from understanding product creation and delivery, and from clear project design and monitoring and evaluation (M&E).
To achieve the goal of universal energy access we need financing solutions that promote small-scale, decentralised energy provision. This year IIED hosted three international events to debate public and private finance for energy services. Together with partners, we set up the Alliance of Civil Society Organisations for Clean Energy Access (ACCESS) to advocate for people living in poverty to have access to reliable and affordable energy.
almost the population of India – don't have access to electricity
have to rely on wood or other biomass to cook and heat their homes
The 2.5 billion increase in the global urban population predicted for 2050 raises pressing questions about food security. Most population growth is expected in low-income and informal settlements in Africa and Asia, and this is where we must look for answers.
A key problem with food security is not that there is not enough food to eat, but that many people do not have enough food to eat.
Many people in informal settlements manage an unreliable food supply by simply reducing the quality and quantity of their meals. This is a recipe for illness and inequality.
In this landscape, street vendors are becoming more central to the eating habits of low-income households. Street vendors are often seen by authorities as sources of unsafe food, polluters and obstacles to development. But the truth is that they support food security by selling affordable cooked foods and creating employment for many poor urban dwellers.
IIED and partners are working with Kenyan federation of slum dwellers Muungano wa Wanavijiji to reach out to street vendors and their customers, as well as people keeping livestock in Nairobi’s informal settlements.
A balloon mapping exercise, using aerial pictures taken about 100 metres above ground, gave residents accurate, up-to-date maps of their settlements. These maps are allowing Nairobi’s disenfranchised inhabitants to identify and implement solutions to the challenges prioritised by their communities, particularly in relation to food safety.
This work is also feeding into a wider, more accurate narrative on urban food security.
Today, a third of Africa and Asia's total urban population live in low-income and informal settlements
By 2050, two thirds of the global population will live in urban areas. By far the largest growth will be seen in Africa and Asia
People living in informal settlements spend more on food than anything else; often more than half of all household expenditure
IIED's 'food transitions' initiative aims to challenge overly simplistic narratives on food systems. We want to design consumption policies that encourage sustainable systems and reflect complex rural-urban relationships. This year, we looked at small towns, and how they connect food producers to wider markets and provide non-farming jobs to land-poor groups. We found that these towns play an essential role as hubs, connecting urban and rural producers, markets and consumers.
The world is urbanising, and cities are increasingly in the frontline of humanitarian emergencies. IIED is leading a three-year programme that aims to build an in-depth understanding of how humanitarian organisations can address crisis situations in urban contexts. The Urban Crises Learning Fund, initiated in 2014, will deliver research, documentation, tools and shared learning for urban stakeholders and humanitarian organisations.
The number of weather-related disasters has tripled in 30 years
were forcibly displaced by conflict or disaster in 2013 – the highest number since the Second World War
IIED is working with a range of partners on the Urban Ark programme, which aims to reduce disaster risk in urban sub-Saharan Africa. The three-year programme will research the risks facing the urban poor, including rapid population growth, poor housing and health and the impacts of climate change. The ESRC/DFID-funded programme aims to deliver improved data collection and analysis, capacity building and wide stakeholder participation.
people cannot access a safe toilet
Children growing up in Africa's low income urban areas are often 20-30 times more likely to die than those in high-income areas or countries
Less than half of sub-Saharan Africa's urban population can access 'improved' sanitation such as sewered systems. This figure hasn't changed in more than 20 years. The SHARE city-wide project helps communities and city authorities work on sanitation together. It is supported by IIED and Shack/Slum Dwellers International. This year it helped communities in Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe develop solutions. The project ends this year, but participants will continue scaling up local models.
of Tanzania's urban population lacks 'improved' sanitation
Follow the links below to learn more about how IIED operates and its commitment to transparency.
We reduced our emissions by 2.5% over the year
We spent £18.1m in 2014-15
109 people; 32 different languages
770,341 of our research publications were downloaded
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36 pages detailing highlights of our work over the year