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 This website is no longer updated, but allows access to IRF blogs and recent publications until December 2019 when it will also close.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


Måns Nilsson
21 Nov 2013

The Open Working Group is meeting again this week to gather its thoughts on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In focus this time are infrastructure, trade, growth and energy. While there may not ultimately be a specific goal on each of these, the drafting process is gradually gathering pace.

Nicole Leotaud
21 Nov 2013

New global sustainable development goals (SDGs) will need to address the special vulnerabilities and opportunities of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) if they are to have any relevance for these fifty-two countries and territories. A recent report by SIDS lays out sustainable development priorities that must be effectively addressed in the post-2015 development agenda.

James Murombedzi
29 Oct 2013

The agreement to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was perhaps one of the more significant outcomes of Rio+20. But the construction of the SDGs may already be running into the same challenges that the MDGs encountered, mainly the inability to challenge the structural and systemic causes of unsustainability.

20 Sep 2013

What worked and what struggled when it comes to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)? And what lessons could help design future commitments, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? As representatives arrive in New York for the 68th UN General Assembly (17-September to 1 October), the Independent Research Forum-2015 looks back—and then forward.

Peter Hazlewood
20 Sep 2013

In July, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released “A Life of Dignity for All: Accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and advancing the United Nations development agenda beyond 2015.” As representatives arrive in New York for the opening of the 68th UN General Assembly, Peter Hazlewood (World Resources Institute) comments on some of the strengths, weaknesses and key questions from the report’s treatment of the post-2015 agenda.

Wongani Grace Nkhoma
04 Jul 2013

Achieving equitable quality education for all will require a paradigm shift in the way education is conceptualised and delivered. This will require concerted efforts by all actors, from government, civil society, the private sector, and parents.

Emily Benson
17 Jun 2013

The UN Secretary General's High-Level Panel has published their set of recommendations to replace the Millennium Development Goals. What is the verdict? How do the Panel’s goals ‘score’?

28 May 2013

Tailoring a set of global sustainable development goals (SDGs) to national contexts will be critical to advancing the post-2105 development agenda.

27 May 2013

In this short video Dr Måns Nilsson, Research Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute, explains what makes the Sustainable Development Goals different.

27 Nov 2012

The Rio+20 conference came and went. Few agreements were reached and few people noticed. What next for the world?