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IIED is one of the world’s most influential international development and environment policy research organizations. Founded in 1971 by economist Barbara Ward, who forged the concept and cause of sustainable development, IIED works with partners on five continents. By building bridges between policy and practice, rich and poor communities, the government and private sector, and across diverse interest groups, IIED contributes to many international policy processes and frameworks, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the UN conventions on climate change and biological diversity.

IIED carries out research, advice and advocacy work. They carry out action research — generating robust evidence and know-how that is informed by a practical perspective acquired through hands-on research with grassroots partners — and they publish in journals and maintain high research standards. IIED advises government, business and development agencies, and argues for changes in public policy. IIED focuses on bottom-up solutions, staying open to flexible, adaptable solutions and are marked by a tradition of challenging conventional wisdom through original thinking.