Time to Shine for Kilkenny woman

New chair of International Institute for Environment and Development

Sean Keane


Sean Keane



Kilkenny Kilkenny Kilkenny

Kilkenny woman, Dr Tara Shine has been appointed the new chair of IIED (International Institute for Environment and Development)

Kilkenny woman, Dr Tara Shine has been appointed as the new chair of the prestigious international conservation body, IIED.

The aim of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is to build a fairer, more sustainable world, using evidence, action and influence, working in partnership with others.  

Dr Shine, a former Kilkenny College student will succeed former Costa Rica vice-president Rebeca Grynspan when her term ends. Dr Shine will take over on September 14 of next year.

A specialist on climate change and the environment and development, Dr Shine has 20 years experience advising leaders, governments, multilateral agencies and civil society.

She first came to prominence for a television documentary on the lost crocodiles of the Sahara.

She completed her PhD on ephemeral wetlands in eastern Mauritania at the University of Ulster in Coleraine, where she did her primary degree.

She traveled to Antarctica in January 2018 as part of a global leadership programme for women scientists called Homeward Bound.

Speaking about her appointment, she said it was urgently time to engage people in all walks of life – from governments to the grassroots – to be part of the transition to zero carbon, more resilient societies.

“IIED’s action research and partnerships with organisations on the ground provide evidence and a clarion call for new models of leadership. I look forward to working with the trustees and the amazing staff in IIED to help shape a better, more collaborative future and make change happen," she said.

Dr Shine has worked with organisations including Irish Aid, the Irish government’s programme for overseas development; the Swedish Development Agency (Sida); the OECD; The Elders and the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice.

She is currently director and co-founder of the award-winning social enterprise Change by Degrees, and works to educate and engage individuals, businesses and communities to live and work more sustainable.

Dr Shine’s appointment comes at a time when IIED’s work is more urgent than ever, as detailed in the institute’s five-year strategy launched last April.

Current environmental and development policies are not viable while inequality prevails. Effective research and action are crucial as the pace of climate change becomes increasingly urgent, the scale of biodiversity loss escalates and risks from rapidly growing cities and unsustainable markets are on the rise.

IIED director Andrew Norton said: “We are thrilled to appoint Tara as the new chair of IIED, from a strong and diverse shortlist. She will bring her deep personal commitment to climate justice, her great abilities as an analyst and communicator and her experience of many roles from scientist to social entrepreneur and activist.

“We are delighted to have found a candidate with her exceptional experience and commitment to take forward the great work of our current chair Rebeca Grynspan. We look forward to working with her to ensure that IIED makes the strongest contribution to addressing the great global challenges facing us, from the climate crisis to accelerating global biodiversity loss and rising inequality.”