International Institute for Sustainable Development

International Institute for Sustainable Development
Abbreviation IISD
Motto The Knowledge to Act
Formation 1990
Type NGO
Legal status Registered charitable organization
Purpose Sustainable development
Headquarters Winnipeg
  • 111 Lombard Avenue
President & CEO
Scott Vaughan
Chair of the Board
Alan Young
Main organ
Executive Leadership Team
CAN $27 million (FY 2018)

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent think tank founded in 1990. The institute has offices in Winnipeg, Ottawa, New York City, and Geneva. It has over 100 staff and associates working in over 30 countries.

As a registered charitable organization in Canada, IISD has 501 (c) (3) status in the U.S. IISD receives core operating support from the Government of Canada, as provided through the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Province of Manitoba. The institute also receives project funding from numerous governments inside and outside Canada, United Nations agencies, foundations and the private sector.

Core areas

IISD's 2014-19 strategic plan is focused on six areas:[1]

  • Economic Law and Policy
  • Energy
  • Resilience
  • Water
  • Integrated Knowledge
  • Reporting Services

Initiatives and Projects

IISD Experimental Lakes Area

IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) is a natural laboratory consisting of 58 small lakes and their watersheds set aside for scientific research. Located in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, the lakes in the region are not affected by human impacts. By manipulating these small lakes, scientists are able to examine how all aspects of the ecosystem—from the atmosphere to fish populations—respond. Findings from these real-world experiments are often much more accurate than those from research conducted at smaller scales, such as in laboratories. IISD took over operation of the Experimental Lakes Area in 2014.

IISD Reporting Services

IISD Reporting Services (IISD-RS) provides independent coverage of intergovernmental policy-making efforts related to the environment and sustainable development, including daily reporting, analysis and photos of international environment and development negotiations and events. IISD Reporting Services’ flagship publication, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB), aims to provide a balanced, timely and independent reporting of daily information regarding multilateral environmental and sustainable development negotiations. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin was first published during the preparations for the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and has been published on most follow-up negotiations since then. IISD-RS also reports on workshops and international fora that seek to contribute to intergovernmental policy making, and manages a suite of knowledgebases that report on activities that seek to contribute to or implement decisions taken at the intergovernmental policy making level.

Intergovernmental processes covered by Earth Negotiations Bulletin include: the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD); the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); the United Nations Forum on Forests; the chemicals conventions (Stockholm, Basel and Rotterdam); the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer; the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES); the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS); and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR). The Earth Negotiations Bulletin archives link to all of the processes and ENB reports covered by IISD RS.

Earth Negotiations Bulletin

Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI)

The IISD Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) supports international processes, national governments and civil society organizations to align subsidies with sustainable development. GSI does this by promoting transparency on the nature and size of energy subsidies; evaluating the economic, social and environmental impacts of energy subsidies; and, where necessary, advising on how inefficient and wasteful subsidies can best be reformed. GSI is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and works with partners located around the world. Its principal funders have included the governments of Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, as well as the KR Foundation.

National Adaptation Planners (NAP) Global Network

IISD hosts the Secretariat for the NAP Global Network, which was initiated by adaptation policy-makers and practitioners from 11 developing and developed countries in December 2014, based on the recognition that the NAP process will require sustained dialogue and coordination to leverage and learn from each other’s approaches, experiences and programs. It aims to enhance national adaptation planning and action in developing countries through coordination of bilateral support and in-country actors. The Network also facilitates international peer learning and exchange. It brings together individuals and institutions representing developing country adaptation policymakers and bilateral development agencies.

Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF)

The IGF emerged from the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa where delegates recognized the challenges and opportunities related to mining and sustainable development. The IGF supports more than 60 nations committed to leveraging mining for sustainable development to ensure that negative impacts are limited and financial benefits are shared. IISD has served as Secretariat for the IGF since October 2015.

The IGF is devoted to optimizing the benefits of mining to achieve poverty reduction, inclusive growth, social development and environmental stewardship. The IGF is focused on improving resource governance and decision making by governments working in the sector. It provides a number of services to members including: in-country assessments; capacity building and individualized technical assistance; guidance documents and conference which explore best practices and provide an opportunity to engage with industry and civil society.


  1. "Our Mission | IISD". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
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