Trustee chairs in conversation: Maureen O'Neil and Rebeca Grynspan (Part I)

Article, 11 August 2014

The outgoing chair of the board of trustees of the International Institute for the Environment and Development (IIED), Maureen O'Neil, has reviewed the institute's key challenges and successes over the last six years.

O'Neill discussed IIED's progress with Rebeca Grynspan, who succeeded her as chair of the board in June.

O'Neill said the IIED had continued to live up to its global reputation. It is one of the few organisations that has always been concerned with poverty and with development, and it has always based what it does on evidence.

She said the IIED's biggest achievement during her term was successfully carrying out its five-year strategy.

The former president of the International Development Research Centre added that another key success was moving IIED towards an outcome-based approach, saying that the organisation had 'really put in place the capacity to evaluate, to measure and to reflect on results'.
O'Neill said the biggest challenge was funding IIED's work. She said it was important to find funding and at the same time to keep "the culture of idealism which generates the passion – which is the reason why the organisation has been so successful".
The 20-minute conversation between IIED's incoming and outgoing chairs will be made available in four parts over the following weeks. Future segments include a discussion on how IIED lived up to O'Neil's expectations; what value the trustee chair can bring to an organisation; how IIED has driven global change; the gender dimension of work within environment and poverty; and the qualities Grynspan intends to bring to her new position.