Press release

IISD: Sustaining Excellence - a year in review

July 12, 2009

WINNIPEG—July 13, 2009—Commentary on the unprecedented pace of change over the past year or so is the theme of Sustaining Excellence—the 2008/09 annual report of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, for the year ended March 31, 2009.

The report features commentary from leaders for sustainable development, including an essay on the Green Economy by Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and UNEP executive director.

"The Green Economy Initiative is . . . a real and tangible opportunity to achieve the transformative and comprehensive change that will allow six to nine billion people to live together prosperously, productively and peacefully in years to come," Steiner says.

IISD's trade and investment director Mark Halle writes about government accountability in What Happens Between Promise and Delivery?

"It has become a priority for those of us fighting for sustainable development to turn our attention to designing accountability mechanisms that work," Halle says, adding that it is necessary to review what has worked well in the past, as incentives to achieve compliance and delivery on promises.

Halle also offers a review of IISD's trade and investment program, and makes the following observation: "Each of our program's three pillars—trade, investment and subsidies—is not only central to the current predicament, but central to getting out of it."

IISD's director of climate change and energy John Drexhage offers a forecast on the prospects of an international agreement on climate change at the high level conference to be held in Copenhagen later this year.

"Let me say this at the outset: if an agreement is reached at Copenhagen, it will almost certainly not be in the form of a comprehensive agreement. . . That much became clear in the aftermath of the negotiations held in Bonn early June."

These are just some of the topics covered in this review of the institute's most recent work, which includes a photo essay on promoting conflict-sensitive conservation in Africa, as well as highlights from IISD's six programs: Trade and Investment; Sustainable Natural Resources Management; Measurement and Assessment; Climate Change and Energy; Global Connectivity; and Reporting Services.

The report is available in French (PDF - 3 mb) and English (PDF - 3 mb).

For more information, please contact IISD media and communication officer, Nona Pelletier Phone: +1-(204)-958-7740, Cell: +1-(204)-962-1303.

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.