About de Project IRF

The new global agenda for sustainable development provides a crucial opportunity to address the problems of poverty, inequality, unsustainable natural resource use and climate change. It calls for a fresh approach to development that recognises the need to integrate action to protect the climate and the wider environment into actions to tackle poverty, and addresses the importance of equity and social justice in environmental policies.


The Independent Research Forum (IRF) is a partnership between ten leading sustainable development research institutes and think tanks from around the world, supporting change for a sustainable future.

Established in 2012, the IRF partnership brings together a breadth of scientific expertise and practical on the ground experience across the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development. Our research and policy analysis skills, combined with our experience, gives us a wealth of expertise on how to put this new sustainable development agenda into practice.

We have well-established relationships with governments, regional bodies and civil society organisations around the world, which put us in a unique position to bring together the key people who matter to develop coherent, integrated agendas for change.

Our global reach allows us to share key lessons with the wider development community, bridging the worlds of science, policy and practice.

Our track-record

IRF partners have a long history of working at the international, national and regional policy levels to build strong relationships and develop mutual trust. We worked with experts, negotiators and sustainable development practitioners to strengthen the ambition and coherence of the new global agenda, providing research and promoting dialogue.

At the global level, IRF organised a series of informal retreats for senior government negotiators and UN officials to create a space to share diverse perspectives and find common ground on complex, potentially divisive issues.

At the national and regional levels, IRF has also supported research and learning in the Caribbean, Chile and southern Africa exploring how to translate universal goals and targets into concrete progress on the ground in different contexts.

Supporting the new sustainable development agenda

The transition to sustainable development will be a long-term process for every country, rich or poor, with failures and successes along the way. Learning from the experiences of different countries and sharing that learning more widely will be essential to achieving lasting progress.

IRF will work with governments, legislative bodies and civil society actors to use our experience and expertise to bring together the key players to facilitate shared learning, identify priorities and develop strategies. We will draw on this to establish learning platforms and engage with countries, regions and civil society groups to learn and share lessons learnt from experience.