Happy birthday! IIED is forty years old

The International Institute for Environment and Development celebrates four decades of research to identify policies that meet people’s needs while sustaining the environment upon which all good development depends.

News, 21 October 2011

We have chosen Monday 24 October to celebrate our birthday because on that day we will also launch our latest annual report and will have our new offices in London opened by Stephen O’Brien MP, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for international development.

In the past 40 years we have worked with partners in more than 100 countries and together we have effected change at local, national and global levels.

IIED was launched in 1971 by renowned economist and policy advisor Barbara Ward. It was among the first organisations to link environment with development and it played key roles in the Stockholm Conference of 1972, the Brundtland Commission of 1987, the 1992 Earth Summit and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The institute is now helping to shape the global debates on climate change, forests, markets, biodiversity and the green economy.

Partnerships are key to the way IIED works. By forging alliances with individuals and organisations ranging from urban slum dwellers to global institutions, IIED ensures that national and international policy reflects the agendas of marginalised people.

"The past forty years have seen recognition of environmental constraints move from marginal to mainstream, a great achievement in itself," says IIED's director Camilla Toulmin in a new blog post.

"But nothing stands still and now there is a host of new barriers to progress being erected, such as the shift in the climate change arena from science to ideology based decision-making. We cannot shy away from our responsibility to achieve tangible improvements to planetary sustainability alongside greater prosperity for poorer people."

In addition, IIED Parliamentary Partners — Joan Walley MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP and Andrew George MP — have tabled a motion in the House of Commons.

It "commends IIED's effective blend of evidence, action and influence in partnership with others, linking local solutions to global policy-making; and believes that IIED's work is needed more than ever as governments try to face up to the inter-connected challenges of economic crisis, climate change, poverty and increasing pressure on water, forests and land."