Diana Mitlin is an economist and social development specialist who is currently working at the International Institute for Environment and Development (www.iied.org)and the University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (www.sed.manchester.ac.uk). From 1993-95 she taught at the DPU (MSc in The Economics of Urbanisation and Managing the City Economy).

Her first career was as a UK public sector economist with posts at the Forestry Commission (1983-6) and Monopolies and Mergers Commission (1986-8). Diana began working at IIED in 1989, and since that date she has worked extensively on a range of issues related to human settlements and urban development. Her work has included applied research, documentation programmes and policy analysis, most notably in the areas of urban community development and organization, and shelter finance. At the University of Manchester, she has recently co-convened two conferences on NGO alternatives and the rights based approach, as well as contributing to research and teaching initiatives in urban development in Southern towns and cities.

Diana’s major focus is on issues of urban poverty reduction, in particular in the area of secure tenure, basic services and housing. She has written on shelter financing strategies for low-income households and the interface between poverty reduction and shelter provision. In 2004, she contributed several preparatory papers on shelter finance to UN-Habitat for the Global Report on Human Settlements 2005. Recent publications include Empowering Squatter Citizen (2004, Earthscan with David Satterthwaite), Confronting the Crisis in Urban Poverty (2006, ITDG with Lucy Stevens and Stuart Coupe), and Can NGOs make a Difference? The Challenge of Development Alternatives (2007, Zed Books with Tony Bebbington and Sam Hickey).

For the last ten years, Diana has worked closely with Shack/Slum Dwellers International, a trans-national network of homeless and landless people’s federations and support NGOs. This work has included coordinating IIED’s programme of direct support for SDI’s work on secure tenure and basic services with funding from a number of trusts and foundations and the UK Lottery. She has also made a number of contributions to the UK NGO sector being a co-founder and co-facilitator of a UK NGO urban development network (1994-7), a board member (1990-3) and chair of Homeless International (1993-6), and a trustee of Practical Action (1987-2007). She is currently a member of the Programme and Policy Committee of WaterAid.

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