Barbara Lassen

Senior researcher (conservation, communities and equity), IIED's Natural Resources research group

Barbara Lassen's picture
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3463 7399
Languages: English, French, Spanish, German (all fluent)

Barbara’s work focuses on the social dimensions of nature conservation and natural resource management, with a particular focus on governance, equity and rights in area-based conservation. 

She currently works on advancing conservation led by Indigenous Peoples and local communities: through stakeholder-led methods for assessing governance of protected and conserved areas, by building evidence on the barriers for Indigenous Peoples and local communities-led conservation and how to overcome them; and by influencing international policy.

She is also interested in the diverse values of nature and relationships between people and nature, and how to translate these into practice in law and policy, in economic systems and in conservation practice.


Governance of protected and conserved areas; rights-based approaches to conservation; values of nature and ecosystem services; access and benefit sharing; legal empowerment and bio-cultural rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Particular experience in West Africa, Madagascar and Latin America.

Before IIED

  • Regional director for West Africa and programme head for conservation and customary use, Natural Justice 
  • Technical adviser, GIZ (implementing the biodiversity convention)
  • Executive officer, IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy


  • MA, international environmental policy, Monterey Institute of International Studies
  • Diploma, landscape ecology, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

Current work

Developing methods to assess the power balance in protected and conserved areas; upscaling Site-based Assessments of Governance and Equity (SAGE); coordinating an international task force on advancing indigenous and community-led governance of protected and conserved areas; promoting equity and rights in the implementation of the '30x30 target' of the global biodiversity framework.