A partnership of research institutions
from around the world supporting
change for a sustainable future


Formed in 2012, the Independent Research Forum (IRF) partnership brought together organisations working on sustainable development around the world. The project is now closed. This website is no longer updated, but allows access to IRF blogs and recent publications until December 2019 when it will also close.

•  Read more about how we helped to shape the 2030 agenda in our final blog
Find information about the project on the IIED website
•  View and download key publications from the IIED publications library


Nicole Leotaud
17 Sep 2014
Warmmae Letang ("rowing lake" in Creole) in the mountains of Dominica generates hydropower and also supports community ecotourism activities.

There are three reasons to scale up renewable energy in the Caribbean islands: achieving energy security; avoiding high fossil fuel costs and price volatility; and addressing environmental concerns. For the Caribbean, the first two economic arguments are driving the growing interest in wind, geothermal and solar energy as the top options.  

Nicole Leotaud
10 Sep 2014

Strong words like absurd, unrealistic, indifferent and criminal were heard from CARICOM delegations discussing global economic barriers to achieving sustainable development at the Third International Conference for Small Island Development States (SIDS) being held in Samoa.  

Manuel Pulgar Vidal
05 Sep 2014
Drought affects Xinjiang Province, a consequence of climate change (Photo: Simon Lim)

Climate change and sustainable development are inextricably linked. It is critical, therefore, that the post-2015 sustainable development agenda fully embeds climate change.

Nicole Leotaud
04 Sep 2014
A scene from Samoa (Photo: mikigroup via Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Discussions are in full swing at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, including the need for greater civil society involvement. 

Peter Hazlewood and Sonya Suter
21 Aug 2014
Riverside community, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: James Anderson/WRI

The Open Working Group has proposed a comprehensive and potentially transformative set of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Some issues remain unresolved, though, giving rise to five key questions. 

Liz Sharkey, Katie Robinson, and Robert Walker
11 Aug 2014
Photo: Simon Lim

The SDGs should adopt natural resource accounting as a fundamental building block towards achieving sustainability.

Peter Veit and Peter Hazlewood
04 Aug 2014
Photo: Jane Boles via Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0

The proposed Sustainable Development Goals leave out a critical component of improving rural livelihoods—securing community land rights. 

Dario Hidalgo
16 Jul 2014
Photo: Justin Swan/Flickr

The SDGs define important priorities for international development over the next 15 years, including the need for safe, sustainable, and inclusive cities.

Julio Berdegué
15 Jul 2014
Participatory planning in Huanjiang County, Guangxi Province, China (Photo: Deng Weijie)

The sustainable development goals are unlikely to have impact without greater involvement of national and local policy makers. 

Simon Milledge
14 Jul 2014
Meceburi Forest, near Nampula, Mozambique (Photo: Mike Goldwater)

Does the zero draft of the Sustainable Development Goals take enough note of the crucial interdependencies between goal areas?