International Institute for Sustainable Development

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International Institute for Sustainable Development
International Institute for Sustainable Development logo.png
Abbreviation IISD
Motto Smart solutions for a small planet
Formation 1990
Type NGO
Legal status research, reporting and implementation
Purpose sustainable development
Headquarters Winnipeg
  • 161 Portage Avenue East
President & CEO
Scott Vaughan
Chair of the Board
Alan Young
Main organ
Executive Leadership Team
CAN $16.6 million (FY 2012)[1]

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an independent, non-profit and non-governmental research organization founded in Canada in 1990. IISD is headquartered in Winnipeg and has offices in 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[edit]

IISD's 2014-19 strategic plan[2] is focused on six areas:

IISD Experimental Lakes Area[edit]

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 a 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[edit]

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. 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.

Earth Negotiations Bulletin[edit]

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. 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 History[edit]

ENB was originally titled the Earth Summit Bulletin, and was created in March 1992 by Johannah Bernstein, Pamela Chasek, and Langston James (Kimo) Goree VI. This team wrote and distributed daily reports during the five-week meeting of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Fourth Preparatory Committee, gaining recognition and additional funds to provide coverage of the June 1992 UNCED event itself, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Soon after the Rio Earth Summit, this team affiliated the project with IISD, which has been its publishing home ever since.[3] In addition to reporting on intergovernmental negotiations through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin reports, IISD’s Reporting Services Division has been invited to report on hundreds of workshops, symposia and other meetings focused on intergovernmental sustainable development policy making.[4] Meetings covered through this branch of IISD RS’ work include the Eye on Earth Summit, the World Future Energy Summit, the Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands, and the Global Environment Facility Assembly meetings. To mark its 20th anniversary, a number of current and past Earth Negotiations Bulletin writers contributed to an edited volume that documents trends that they had observed over the 1992-2012 period, from UNCED to the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also called Rio+20). The Roads from Rio: Lessons Learned from Twenty Years of Multilateral Environmental Negotiations (Routledge 2012), edited by Pamela S. Chasek and Lynn M. Wagner, examines the proliferation of meetings, the changes in the actors and their roles (governments, nongovernmental organizations, secretariats), the interlinkages of issues, the impact of scientific advice, and the challenges of implementation across negotiating processes. This volume describes the “view from the back of the room” that ENB writers have had for over 20 years of sustainable development policy making, bringing together many of the negotiating experiences that they have tracked through each issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

Knowledge Management[edit]

In 2008, IISD began tracking activities throughout the United Nations system related to climate change, in the lead up to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. “Climate Change Policy & Practice” is a knowledgebase that IISD updates daily with news and events related to intergovernmental climate change policy. This knowledgebase offers a searchable data set on meetings, publications and upcoming events that the United Nations system has undertaken in response to climate change. IISD has subsequently created additional knowledgebases to track international activities related to: Biodiversity; Forests; Land; Water and Sanitation; Chemicals and Wastes; Sustainable Development; Sustainable Energy; the Post-2015 Development Agenda; Small Island Developing States; Latin America and the Caribbean; Africa; and Asia-Pacific. Summaries of recent posts to each of these knowledgebases are distributed through related electronic mailing lists that IISD maintains. These listservs also distribute posts from subscribers regarding their recent activities related to each sustainable development topics.


  1. ^ Consolidated Financial Statements, IISD, March 31, 2012. Accessed: January 2, 2013.
  2. ^ "Our Mission | IISD". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  3. ^ See the archives of all meetings covered by ENB at
  4. ^ See for a full list of all “conference reporting services” meetings covered by IISD Reporting Services.

External links[edit]