Our Issue Experts
President and Chief Executive Officer
Scott Vaughan is IISD President and CEO, and Chair of the IISD Experimental Lakes Area Board. Previously, Scott was Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. As Director of the Department of Sustainable Development, Organization of American States (OAS), his group supported the world’s largest portfolio of transboundary freshwater basin cooperation initiatives, including the eight-country Amazon Treaty Cooperation Organization. He has held positons as Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Head of Economics, NAFTA Environment Commission; and Counsellor, World Trade Organization (WTO).
While at UN Environment, Scott initiated the UNEP Finance Initiative (FI), as well as the environment–trade program, and worked in the office of the UNEP Executive Director. He worked in Economic and Corporate Affairs of the Royal Bank of Canada head office and was a policy advisor to the federal Minister of the Environment (Hon. Charles Caccia). He holds post-graduate degrees from the London School of Economics, University of Edinburgh and Dalhousie University, and an undergraduate degree from Mount Allison University.
Current board and related affiliations include the Mare Nostrum Global Initiative; the Environmental Leadership Council of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce; the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED); the China Eco-Forum Global International Advisory Council; the World Economic Forum (WEF) Stewardship Board for International Trade and Investment; and Smart Prosperity Leaders Initiative. He is Associate Editor of the Chinese Journal of Urban and Environment Studies.
- Five Steps We Must Take to Protect Refugees in the FutureThis year, a new reality, based on a new international paradigm regarding refugees futures, must emerge. Here are five steps that need to be set in motion to make this happen.
- Paris to Paris: Raising climate finance without raising global temperatureWhat does climate (and broader sustainability) leadership mean today, as we close out a year of ever-increasing emissions and one of the top three hottest years on record?
- Indigenous Protected Areas, a Way to Meet Human and Environmental Challenges?This commentary examines Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) and their growing importance in recognizing the rights of indigenous societies and safeguarding biological diversity.
- IISD Experimental Lakes Area 2016-2017 Annual ReportIn this year's annual report, we explore how IISD Experimental Lakes Area is innovating in the arena of freshwater science, to improve its own research, but also limnology across the world.
- Adaptation Urgent as Climate Change Impacts ProliferateIn the 1990s and into the early 2000s, there was debate about whether there was a need to talk about climate change adaptation.
- Together, Canada, China and the EU Can Fill Trump's Climate Leadership VoidA critical summit offers the chance for 34 major world economies to raise their collective climate efforts—without the aid of the U.S.
- Response to the United States Trade Representative’s Stated Objectives on NAFTA Negotiations: An environmental perspectiveOn July 17, 2017, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published its Summary of Objectives for the NAFTA renegotiation. Taking a sustainable development perspective, this response examines the USTR objectives and how they directly or indirectly relate to sustainable growth through international trade and investment.
- IISD Speech: President and CEO Scott Vaughan at the World Circular Economy Forum 2017, HelsinkiIISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan speech from the World Circular Economy Forum 2017 on June 6, 2017 in Helsinki.
- Cost of Pollution: Extreme WeatherDid you know that the cost of climate change-related heat waves in Canada is estimated to have been $1.6 billion in 2015?
- Cost of Pollution: Contaminated SitesDid you know that average annual cost of managing contaminated sites under federal jurisdiction in Canada was $283 million between 2005/06 and 2014/15?
- Cost of Pollution: Persistent Organic Pollutants Did you know that the cost of persistent organic pollutants to Canada is estimated to be in the billions, but we still don't know for sure?
- Cost of Pollution: Smog Did you know that smog cost Canada $36 billion in 2015?
- NAFTA’s Environmental Record: History, outcomes, impacts and optionsIISD has asked various experts from across Canada, the United States and Mexico to give their perspectives on NAFTA and the pending negotiations. This commentary, written by IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan, is the introductary piece in this series.
- Building Global Governance for 'Climate Refugees'IISD President-CEO Scott Vaughan and IISD Board Member Lloyd Axworthy, along with several representatives from various environmental NGOs, contributed to this G20 Insights policy brief on recognizing that forced displacement due to climate change is increasing.
- IISD Speech: President and CEO Scott Vaughan at the UN Economic and Social Council, 2017 Integrated Segment, New YorkIISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan speaking at the UN ESOSOC 2017 Integration Segment on May 8, 2017 in New York.
- IISD Speech: IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan at the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region, GenevaIISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan speaking at the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region in Geneva on April 25, 2017.
- Green Shift to Sustainability: Co-Benefits & Impacts of Energy Transformation on Resource Industries, Trade, Growth and TaxesIISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan, along with several representatives from various environmental NGOs, contributed to this G20 Insights policy brief on the benefits and impacts of energy transformation.
- Canada Advancing Global Efforts on Mercury ManagementThis brief summarizes the state of knowledge on mercury management in Canada based on recent reports, as well as decades of research at the IISD-Experimental Lake Area (IISD-ELA).
- IISD Speech: President and CEO Scott Vaughan at PAGE Ministerial Conference, BerlinIISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan speaks at the PAGE Ministerial Conference in Berlin, Germany on March 27, 2017.
- Comprehensive Wealth in Canada: IISD's report launch On December 1, 2016, IISD publicly released a report on measuring Comprehensive Wealth, an innovative approach, never before undertaken in Canada, to measuring wealth that looks beyond merely GDP.
- Carbon Without Borders: Can trade policy support ambitious climate action?The multilateral trade and climate regimes both face unprecedented uncertainty and strain. How should countries advance the urgent need for climate action without resorting to protectionism?
- Raisons pour lesquelles nous devrions nous inquiéter à propos de la richesse du CanadaIn a French-language blog post, Scott Vaughan and Robert Smith explain why we need to reconsider how we measure wealth in Canada.
- Freshwater Stewardship in CanadaScott Vaughan explains how IISD is bridging the gap between freshwater science and policy, and how it plans to celebrate Canada's 150th Anniversary.
- A New Generation of Trade and Industrial PolicyIISD President-CEO Scott Vaughan presents ideas for a new generation of trade and industrial policy.
- Jobs and the Low-Carbon Energy Transition: Perspectives from Cumberland CountyThis commentary begins in Cumberland County, in Northwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, where new jobs are emerging in the renewable energy sector. It argues that the shifts underway in Cumberland County are representative of a larger transition, as job losses in the fossil fuel industry are replaced by growth in renewable energy.
- Comprehensive Wealth in Canada—Measuring what matters in the long runThis report seeks to introduce the concept of comprehensive wealth to Canadians and outline why it should be considered an essential complement to the other measures such as gross domestic product.
- China's Low-Carbon RevolutionSince the US election, many are speculating about the ascendancy of Beijing as a global leader both on trade and climate policy. In reality, however, China had been moving forward on a comprehensive climate mitigation and adaptation pathway well before the US election.
- Opening Our Doors: IISD Experimental Lakes Area 2015-2016 Annual Report2015-2016 was the year that IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA) truly opened its doors to the world.
- How Canada Can Be a Global Leader on the Sustainable Development GoalsIn an opinion piece originally published in The Hill Times, Julia Sánchez (CCIC) and Scott Vaughan argue that other countries are voluntarily reporting on progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, while Canada has no clear plan.
- Building Transboundary Water SecurityThis article highlights a new generation of transboundary agreements that aim to integrate wider freshwater benefits, notably ecosystem functions. It also points to the need for holistic approaches to freshwater management moving forward, as countries turn towards implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Costing, Mapping, Financing and Mobilizing Knowledge: IISD and the Sustainable Development GoalsUltimately, the only measure of success of the Sustainable Development Goals will be their implementation within countries. IISD is thus focusing on the architecture of SDG implementation across four key areas: costing, mapping, financing and mobilizing knowledge. This article briefly highlights work that relates to each of these areas.
- Dr. Mostafa Tolba: Architect of the Montreal Protocol, IPCC and Biodiversity ConventionA tribute to the life of Dr. Mostafa Tolba, who sadly passed away on March 28, 2016. Dr. Mostafa Tolba led the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for almost 20 years, and played a pivotal role in setting the global environmental agenda.
- Deaths in Honduras Underline the Grave Risks Facing Indigenous LeadersEnvironmental activists and indigenous leaders face deadly risks in many countries, as recent murders in Honduras demonstrate.
- A New Year of Subsidy Reform2016 begins with two historic global achievements in place to reform subsidies that harm the poor and damage the environment.
- IISD Experimental Lakes Area Annual Report 2014-2015The 2014-15 IISD Experimental Lakes Area annual report includes highlights from some members of staff and the board, as well as some stats from our first year and images of our 58 beautiful lakes and their watersheds.
- Seven Priorities for the New Canadian Federal Government: The Environmental and Sustainability AgendaA long list of priorities awaits the new Canadian government, topped by federal climate mitigation policies in the lead-up to the Paris climate...
- Chapter: Trade and Sustainable Development from Redesigning Canadian Trade Policies for New Global RealitiesSustainable development is one of the most difficult policy challenges of our time. It is also closely linked to the global trading system. In this chapter from IRPP's Redesigning Canadian Trade Policies for New Global Realities, IISD President Scott Vaughan describes how environmental concerns have become part of international trade policy over the past two decades, and discusses some of the implications for Canada.
- Inclusivity and Integration: The new Sustainable Development Goals and a second chance for Bretton WoodsThe Sustainable Development Goals have been dubbed “the Bretton Woods moment for our generation.” This paper explores some of the ideas and actors that shaped the earlier vision of the first Bretton Woods system, which laid the economic foundation and institutions of the post-Second World War period.
- Regional Sustainable Development: Lessons in integrated policies (speech)IISD President and CEO Scott Vaughan spoke at the International Symposium on the Yangtze River Economic Zone and the Construction of Three Gorges...
- Climate Investment, Low-Carbon Innovation and Green Industrial PolicyIISD President-CEO Scott Vaughan offers up a timely commentary on climate investment, low-carbon innovation and green industrial policy, ahead of COP21 in Paris.
- The State and Fate of Tropical RainforestsIISD President-CEO pens a commentary review of Claude Martin’s latest book On the Edge: The State and Fate of the World’s Tropical Rainforests and discusses what the future may hold for our tropical rainforests.
- CEM and ECPA Side Event: Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform and Investments in Clean and Affordable EnergyRecent developments in fossil fuel subsidy reform and discussion of how to sustain the progress made, should oil prices rise again.Discussion of...
- Montréal et la nouvelle économie verte (discours)Le président-directeur général de l’IISD, Scott Vaughan, discute de l’importance de Montréal (Canada) en tant que centre pour la nouvelle économie...
- Accountability and the Post-2015 Agenda (Speech)IISD President Scott Vaughan's speech at the President of the 68th Session of the United Nation’s General Assembly’s Interactive Dialogue “Elements...
- Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP): Targets and Indicators and the SDGsThe United Nations and its Member States are currently crafting a post-2015 development agenda to build on the Millennium Development Goals...
- The Challenge of Extreme Events and their Impacts (Speech)IISD President Scott Vaughan's keynote speech at the Canadian Climate Forum's Symposium on Extreme Weather and Adaptation held in Ottawa, ON on...
- Aboriginal Issues and Canada's Oil and Gas Sector (Speech)In this speech to the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada's (MISC) 2014 Annual Conference: "Petrocultures 2014: Oil, Energy, and Canada's...
- Remarks to the Canadian-American Business Council (Speech)Scott Vaughan addresses the convergence of regulatory approaches between Washington and Ottawa, the price implications of different mitigation...
- Speech to the Joint Public Advisory Meeting: NAFTA at 20In this speech to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation's (CEC's) Joint Public Advisory Committee, IISD President Scott Vaughan discusses...
- Safeguarding the ArcticIISD President Scott Vaughan comments on the relationship between sustainable development and emerging sovereignty issues in the Arctic.He suggests...
- A New Era for the Experimental LakesIn this op-ed published in the Ottawa Citizen, IISD President Scott Vaughan discussed the history and relevance of Canada's Experimental Lakes Area...
- Promise by U.S. and China to phase-out HFCs a welcome step to reduce climate pollutantsOn June 8, 2013, United States President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to cut production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HFCs)...
- Scott Vaughan, IISD President and CEO, keynote address at Ontario Climate Consortium's First Climate Change Research Symposium in Toronto, May 13, 2013 (Speech Notes)President and CEO Scott Vaughan's keynote address to the inaugural symposium of the Ontario Climate Consortium, 2013.