International Institute ro Sustainable Development (IISD)

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is a not-for-profit organization that contributes to sustainable development by advancing policy recommendations in areas of international trade and investment, climate change and energy, economic policy and others. IISD was formally established in 1990, with its headquarters in Winnipeg, Canada. The Institute subsequently expanded to include offices in New York (1993), Ottawa (1995), Geneva (2000) and Beijing (2012). IISD has more than 100 staff and associates located in over 30 countries.

Since its founding in 1990, IISD’s work has grown to cover six Program areas:

  • Climate Change and EnergyAn integrated Program that looks not just at immediate solutions to the negotiation of the next generation climate treaty, but more specific solutions to climate change through long-term investment and trade solutions to unsustainable energy and other practices and processes.

  • Trade and Investment: A Program in which the linkages between international trade and investment, and the rules governing these critical economic elements of globalization, are assessed from a sustainable development perspective. Our focus is on how international trade and investment can be part of the solution for sustainable development. 

  • Sustainable Natural Resource ManagementA Program with a focus on environmental stewardship and management for a long-term sustainable use of our natural resources.

  • Reporting Services: A Program that includes the now iconic Earth Negotiations Bulletin that provides real time reports on multilateral negotiations relating to sustainable development, and other related reporting and public information services.

  • Global ConnectivityA Program that analyses and develops the tools to improve the role of individuals and civil society in contributing to good governance and sustainability through the internet and related communications technologies and processes.

  • Measurement and AssessmentA Program in which we assist in developing the concrete tools to assess where we are and where we need to be in environmental terms.

In addition, IISD runs a devoted Program with the Government of China related to its evolving and complex sustainable development issues, including its outward investment policies.

About the Investment and Sustainable Development Program

IISD’s Investment Program considers investment as the single most vital requirement for generating economic development in developing countries. Recent developments in this field have shown that investment flows are becoming increasingly global in nature and that the qualities of these investments are critical for advancing the social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. For this to happen, the international legal and policy framework governing trade and foreign investment must be aligned or integrated with the goal of sustainable development. IISD’s efforts have focused on this mission.

IISD began its Investment and Sustainable Development Program approximately fifteen years ago. The Program comprises, among others, a team of highly qualified international lawyers who provide technical and legal advice on international investment treaties and contracts, with respect to negotiations, implementation and disputes. IISD also conducts workshops and training courses for negotiators, policy-makers and government officials. The team works on investment issues in different sectors including mining, agriculture and natural resources, and also provides advice and conducts research on the development of next-generation domestic laws concerning foreign investment in these sectors.

IISD’s investment work over the past years has incorporated six main clusters:

  • Provision of legal advice to developing country governments and civil society;

  • Building capacity through training courses for civil society, developing country governments, parliaments, journalists and other groups;

  • Coordination and organization of the Annual Forum for Developing Country Investment Negotiators;

  • Publishing targeted investment-related research;

  • Producing and dissemination of the flagship news bulletin, Investment Treaty News (ITN), the first such service entirely freely available;

  • Managing a listserv exclusively for developing country policy-makers working on investment issues – Investment Policy Network (IPN).

A full review of IISD’s work in this area can be found at