IIED research and evidence in academia

IIED researchers regularly contribute to a range of external high-profile publications, books and renowned journals that help to influence the academic discourse. This page highlights the most recent work.

Man talking while two others take notes

IIED’s research features in a wide range of international high-profile publications, books and journals. This enables the institute's mission to identify local solutions that can work at scale and introduce these to global forums, by influencing the academic discourse that drives sustainable development (Photo: Mike Goldwater/IIED)

While IIED’s Publications Library hosts more than 7,500 policy briefings, working papers, event reports and more, the work of IIED’s experts is also often featured in a range of international and distinguished journals.

IIED’s research has been featured in noted journals such as World Development, The Lancet and One Earth, on subjects ranging from sustainable agricultural intensification to the potential of social assistance policies in the context of increasing challenges of global inequality, climate change and biodiversity loss.

Publishing research in such journals, and subjecting our work to peer review, enables the institute to produce research that influences the academic discourse and it also enables IIED’s researchers to reach a wide and highly credible audience while ensuring that our evidence is of the highest quality.


IIED researchers also author or edit books, or chapters of those, from international scientific publishers. These can be found in the IIED Bookshelf, along with related blogs, Q&As and video interviews about their work.

These contributions to journals and other external publications, which may also be found through IIED’s researchers on Google Scholar, support IIED’s efforts to strive for excellence in policy and action research that drives sustainable development.

Below is the latest IIED research published in academic journals. Some of these articles are behind a paywall and cannot be accessed without a paid-for subscription. Please contact your local library or institution to see if they can provide you with access.

Beyond banning wildlife trade: COVID-19, conservation and development (2020), World Development journal

This article suggests that the COVID-19 crisis provides a unique opportunity for a paradigm shift both in our global food system and also in our approach to conservation. Featuring IIED's Dilys Roe.

Conserving Africa’s wildlife and wildlands through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond (2020), Nature journal

This article describes how the COVID-19 creates a perfect storm of reduced funding, restrictions on the operations of conservation agencies, and elevated human threats to nature. It also identifies the immediate steps necessary to address these challenges and support ongoing conservation efforts. Featuring IIED's Dilys Roe.

Supporting smallholders’ decision making: managing trade-offs and synergies for sustainable agricultural intensification (2020), International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability

This study explores how different types of farm households in Northwest Ghana, Eastern Burkina Faso and Central Malawi make choices about resource allocation and farming strategies, and how they manage the trade-offs encountered. Featuring IIED’s Barbara Adolph and Sam Barrett.

“Inclusive business” in agriculture: evidence from the evolution of agricultural value chains (2020), World Development journal

This review paper examines published evidence on the structural factors shaping agricultural value chains and their implications for social inclusion. Featuring IIED’s Lorenzo Cotula.

Between Hope and Critique: Human Rights, Social Justice and Re-Imagining International Law from the Bottom Up (2020), Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law

This article analyses indigenous peoples’ use of regional human rights systems to defend or reclaim their ancestral lands, and agrarian movements’ advocacy for the recently adopted United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. Featuring IIED’s Lorenzo Cotula.

Harnessing employment-based social assistance programmes to scale up nature-based climate action (2020) Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B journal

This article illustrates the potential of social assistance policies in the context of increasing challenges of global inequality, climate change and biodiversity loss. Featuring IIED’s Andrew Norton, Nathalie Seddon, Clare Shakya, Nanki Kaur and Ina Porras.

Net gain: seeking better outcomes for local people when mitigating biodiversity loss from development (2020), One Earth journal

This article presents ethical, practical, and regulatory reasons why development projects applying the mitigation hierarchy should consider related social impacts. Featuring IIED’s Dilys Roe.

Land rights and investments: why the IFC performance standards are not enough: a comparison with the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (2019), briefing, LEGEND  

This note studies differences in the approach of the International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability (IFC-PS) and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT). It pinpoints differences that relate specifically to land rights in an investment context and considers the operational implications of these. Featuring IIED’s Lorenzo Cotula.

Cortec Mining Kenya Limited, Cortec (Pty) Limited, and Stirling Capital Limited v. Republic of Kenya (2019), American Journal of International Law

This case comment discusses an investor-state arbitral award rendered under the bilateral investment treaty between Kenya and the United Kingdom. The dispute relates to a mining project in Kenya. Featuring IIED’s Lorenzo Cotula.

Between Promising Advances and Deepening Concerns: A Bottom-Up Review of Trends in Land Governance 2015–2018 (2019), Land journal

An evolving land governance context compounds the case for practitioners to closely track developments as they unfold. The study discusses global trends in land governance over the period 2015-18, and highlights some of the developments practitioners grapple with in their work. Featuring IIED’s Lorenzo Cotula.

Biodiversity loss — more than an environmental emergency (2019), The Lancet

This paper highlights how biodiversity is as much as a development priority as the climate change emergency through discussing biodiversity loss' impact on agriculture, human health and climate resilience. Featuring IIED’s Dilys Roe.

Engaging local communities in tackling illegal wildlife trade: a synthesis of approaches and lessons for best practice (2019), Conservation Science and Practice journal

This paper examines a range of existing approaches to community engagement to tackle international IWT and reviews the evidence on their effectiveness. Featuring IIED’s Dilys Roe and Francesca Booker.

Understanding complex drivers of wildlife crime to design effective conservation interventions (2019), Conservation Biology journal

This article investigates the drivers and prevalence of wildlife crime in communities surrounding two national parks in Uganda and predicts the performance of potential interventions designed to tackle these crimes. Featuring IIED’s Dilys Roe.

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