Make Change Happen podcast

The ‘Make Change Happen’ podcast provides informal insights into IIED’s work to create positive change and make the complex issues we face more accessible to wider audiences. The title refers to IIED’s 2019-2024 strategy, which sets out how IIED plans to respond to the critical challenges of our time.

Episode 17: Making sustainable development a reality – movements that inspire change

As IIED celebrates its 50th birthday, four established members of the IIED family to reflect on key movements in the journey towards sustainable development. They discuss some of the key movements that have pushed sustainable development forward in recent decades, how the landscape has changed, and what might come next. Read more about episode 17.

Episode 16: Shifting the power – climate justice means gender justice

To reflect on International Women’s Day and the 2022 theme ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’, experts explore what is meant by the term ‘climate justice’, and unpack how through shifting the dynamics of oppression, and taking an intersectional approach to climate responses, the burdens of climate change are more likely to be shared fairly and equitably. Read more about episode 16.

Episode 15: IIED at 50 – reflecting on the past, looking to the future

In the year IIED celebrates 50 years of working for a fairer and more sustainable world, we invite two eminent former colleagues to look back at where we came from, how we have developed, and where we should be going. Among the issues that arise are climate finance, partnerships and how to support the poorest and the most vulnerable to ensure their voices are heard and they are able to achieve their goals in vital decision-making arenas – from village councils to international conventions. Read more about episode 15.


Episode 14: Walking the talk of climate ambition – why that walk needs nature too

Experts discuss the connections between the climate emergency, loss of biodiversity and rising inequalities, and why it is important to include nature in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to address these crises globally. The latest episode of the Make Change Happen podcast focuses on why and how developing countries are incorporating nature-based solutions in their NDCs to increase and deliver their climate ambitions. Read more about episode 14.

Episode 13: Getting climate resilience right: the case for backing smallholder organisations

Forest and farm smallholders are fighting for their livelihoods and food security. New research shows producers’ practical measures for climate resilience have impact, but barriers remain to scaling the work up and out. In this ‘super year’ of climate and nature, episode 13 hosts a discussion on what support smallholders need, and who should provide it. Read more about episode 13.

Episode 12: Wanted: an inclusive vision of urban recovery from COVID-19

The urban dimensions of COVID-19 have been largely ignored and yet the economic impacts of the pandemic are especially severe in cities and towns in the global South, where low-income residents have been disproportionately affected. In this episode of Make Change Happen, expert practitioners discuss the effects of the pandemic in urban areas, and they share a range of inclusive, locally led responses from the global South. Read more about episode 12.

Episode 11: Indigenous knowledge, people and nature – all crucial to Kunming

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities have been the guardians of biodiversity for thousands of years. As a result, today, they conserve the world’s richest biodiversity on their lands and territories. In this Make Change Happen episode we learn about the term biocultural heritage, which comes from the lived experience of Indigenous Peoples and is critical to the success of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Read more about episode 11.

Episode 10: Loss and damage – recognising the costs of climate change

Climate change has devastating impacts on our planet and people. Some impacts are very noticeable, but many go unmentioned. In this episode of Make Change Happen, we acknowledge the untold loss and damage from climate change having devastating effects on culture and communities. Read more about episode 10.

Episode 9: No time to lose – collective action for our common future

2020 set us back in achieving environment and development progress, leaving an unprecedented challenge ahead. But recovery is possible if we learn from last year and move ahead quickly. In the first ‘Make Change Happen’ episode of 2021, we learn that early action, youth participation and collaborative policymaking are pivotal to making change happen and a better future for us all. Read more about episode 9.

Episode 8: Debt swaps for climate and nature: innovation for resilience

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns over debt owed by developing nations are increasing substantially. The burden of developing country debt stands at eight trillion US dollars, so action on debt relief is now more pressing than ever. Debt swaps for climate and nature could help relieve debt and offer great gains for the wellbeing of the planet. But they are a controversial idea. In this episode of ‘Make Change Happen’, guests discuss the challenges and potential of debt swaps for climate and nature, highlight a lived example of a marine debt swap from the Seychelles, and analyse what is needed for these programmes to work. Read more about episode 8.

Episode 7: Shared vulnerabilities? Connecting climate and health in cities

Cities and towns are hugely impacted by both climate change and public health crises. This combined (and intertwined) threat weighs heaviest on the poorest urban communities. Health and climate specialists are already working hard on reducing urban risk and increasing resilience, but what has COVID-19 shown us about how these experts could learn from each other, and how they could work better with knowledgeable local actors? This episode includes valuable reflections from India and Sierra Leone. Read more about episode 7.

Episode 6: Reimagining refugee futures: cities, not camps?

Of the approximately 71 million people displaced by conflict and violence worldwide, nearly 26 million are considered refugees. But are more secure futures hindered by a collective failure to see refugees as diverse people, with skills to offer, and preferences about where they call home? For World Refugee Day, we discuss new IIED research comparing refugees’ experiences of life in urban areas to that in camps, and hear about an energy access project that captures some of the complexity of working with displaced people. Read more about episode 6.

Episode 5: What makes a sustainable diet? And who decides?

Globally, we are producing more food than ever. But for many of the world’s poorer citizens, secure access to safe food is becoming less certain. To counter this, an advocacy programme called Sustainable Diets for All is asking: how can we create food systems that are fairer, healthier and more sustainable? With contributions from partners Vladimir Garcia in Bolivia, Emma Blackmore in Kenya and Mangiza Chirwa in Zambia, host Liz Carlile and experts Alejandro Guarin and Costanza de Toma examine work to fight for more diverse food production and better, affordable diets for everybody. Read more about episode 5.

Episode 4: The trouble with growth

Growth is usually measured by gross domestic product (GDP). But while this can indicate the health of other factors – such as jobs, livelihoods and even poverty reduction – it paints a limited picture. GDP does not capture inequality, despite the effect this has on wellbeing. It excludes the environment and the care economy – meaning a huge amount of work done by women literally doesn’t count. GDP also largely overlooks greenhouse gas emissions, failing to count the cost to vulnerable countries. In fact, damaging climate shocks can even count as ‘positive’ when we focus on GDP, as destruction prompts recovery spending. Discussing these and other issues are IIED director Andrew Norton and experts Essam Yassin Mohammed, Clare Shakya and Paul Steele. Read more about episode 4.

Episode 3: Seizing opportunities for urban change

A quarter of the world’s urban population live in informal settlements, mostly in the global South. In advance of the 2020 World Urban Forum in February 2020, this episode looks at how IIED’s work with marginalised urban communities developed, and what opportunities exist now for building more inclusive cities. Guests David Satterthwaite and Anna Walnycki explain why they feel optimistic about the opportunities for inclusive, low-carbon sustainable urbanisation, inspired by successful community-led projects and the urban residents doing this vital work. Read more about episode 3.

Episode 2: Delivering energy access for all

Access to electricity in the poorest countries has begun to accelerate, energy efficiency continues to improve, and renewable energy is making gains in the electricity sector. But despite this progress, around a billion people remain without access to electricity while some 3 billion are without access to clean cooking fuels and technologies. Off-grid and mini-grid solutions can be designed to provide affordable electricity to poor communities in hard-to-reach areas, but governments hoping to harness these technologies to achieve SDG7 need to find new ways to attract more finance. Read more about episode 2.

Episode 1: Protecting our ocean

Nearly three quarters of our planet is covered by water; the ocean is the earth’s essential life support system. But much of the ocean is under-regulated and over-exploited. IIED’s new podcast looks at international efforts to protect the ocean, support marine biodiversity and create sustainable fisheries. Read more about episode 1.

How to subscribe

You can subscribe to the podcast on your favourite podcast app as follows:

The podcast is also available as a playlist on IIED's YouTube channel.