A more sustainable and inclusive world

IDRC’s Strategy 2030 answers the call for research and innovation to address major global challenges.
February 09, 2021


The disastrous impacts of climate change and persistent inequalities, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, are undermining global progress, and stand in the way of achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. 

Our strategy reaffirms our commitment to investing in high-quality research and innovation, expands our focus on sharing knowledge, and continues to mobilize global alliances to support more sustainable and inclusive societies in the developing world.


Climate change and inequalities: the main challenges of our time

Young women attend a class







Experts warn that the world has until 2030 to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change. Hot spots — areas where the effects of climate change are strongly felt and where there are large vulnerable populations — have the greatest need for innovative solutions. Much of Africa, low-lying coastal areas in Asia, parts of the Middle East and Latin America, and small island developing countries have widespread poverty and food insecurity even though they contribute the least to climate change.

Inequalities, whether based on gender, race, sexuality, economic status, or otherwise, prevent people from accessing services and opportunities, engaging in civic affairs, and leaving poverty behind. The world urgently needs more evidence on the most effective ways of empowering the most vulnerable.

Climate change and inequalities pose significant barriers to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Our new strategy reflects our ambition to respond to these issues globally and a commitment to address them not only across research priorities, but in our internal operations.

As part of Canada’s foreign affairs and international development efforts, and with five regional offices and a global network of partners and researchers, we have the breadth and experience to respond to these and other global challenges.

a woman looks through a microscope.


Our research priorities

Five areas of focus will shape IDRC’s work in developing countries over the next decade and contribute to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.   

Climate-Resilient Food Systems – We fund research that helps build inclusive and sustainable food systems. Our work helps develop resilience among communities severely affected by climate change and address emerging health threats that arise from food systems. Learn more.

Global Health – We strengthen health systems and policies so they can deliver better maternal and child health, improved sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and girls, and more effective and equitable preparedness and responses to epidemics. Learn more.

Education and Science – We support research to ensure children and youth from vulnerable populations are in school and benefit from high-quality education. We also support women’s leadership in strong science systems that produce knowledge and innovation and improve lives. Learn more.

Democratic and Inclusive Governance – We champion research and innovation that supports inclusive, accountable, and transparent governance. We work towards empowering vulnerable people and communities to claim their rights and shape the policies and practices that affect their lives. Learn more.

Sustainable Inclusive Economies – We build the evidence base to support sustainable development that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. We enhance climate resiliency, foster shared prosperity, and expand economic opportunities for women and youth. Learn more.