Our People

Leslie Lipper

Executive Director

Leslie Lipper is a natural resource economist who has worked for over 30 years in the field of sustainable agricultural development.  She holds a doctorate in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.  The main themes she has addressed in her career are assessing synergies and tradeoffs between social and environmental objectives in agricultural development, and building evidence that is used by policy-makers and others to effect change.

Since 2016, Leslie has held the position of Executive Director of the Independent Science and Partnership Council.   Prior to this position, Leslie worked for over 15 years as a technical expert on natural resource and environmental economics in the Agriculture and Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, serving as Senior Environmental Economist for 10 of those years.  She directed a program of applied natural resource economics research and policy analysis in support of sustainable agricultural development.   She led in the development of the Climate Smart Agriculture concept at FAO in the context of developing FAO positions in international and national climate change, agriculture and food security policy processes.  Leslie also played a lead technical role in the conceptual framing and development of approaches to fostering sustainable food and agriculture systems at FAO.  She has published extensively, both in the peer-reviewed journal literature and has edited four books, and was lead author on several major FAO technical documents. She was a contributing author to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report WG II chapter on Food Security and Production Systems, and lead author on a 2014 publication in Nature Climate Change on Climate Smart Agriculture.