Lila Buckley

Senior researcher, Natural Resources

Lila Buckley's picture
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3463 7399
Languages: English, Mandarin Chinese (fluent), French (working knowledge)

Lila is an anthropologist focusing on Chinese development and environment policies and civil society, as well as China-Africa aid, trade and investments. Beyond China, she also works on the dynamics of the informal economy as well as organisational change management and disruptive change readiness in Southern NGOs. Her current research focuses on Chinese overseas aid, trade and investments and improving development outcomes for China’s Belt and Road Initiative.


Research on Chinese aid policy and practice, trilateral cooperation, Chinese civil society, and agriculture, with expertise in ethnographic research methodologies. Work and field research experience in China, SouthEast Asia, US, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Before IIED

Prior to joining IIED, she served as assistant executive director for a Beijing-based Chinese environmental organisation, the Global Environment Institute, and was China correspondent for the Worldwatch Institute.


  • University of Oxford: environmental change and management
  • Tsinghua University, Beijing: IUP Blakemore Freeman Scholar of Advanced Chinese
  • Middlebury College, US: anthropology/sociology and Chinese

Current work

Lila leads the China in global development team, including overseeing team-level project development, fundraising and management, ensuring quality assurance on all research outputs and policy engagements, and fostering multi-disciplinary teams in China and elsewhere to develop their research and policy influence. Her current work focuses on Chinese overseas aid, trade and investments, trilateral cooperation, and improving development outcomes for China’s Belt and Road Initiative.