Niak Sian



PhD candidate



Profile summary

  • Biodiversity financing mechanisms
  • Biodiversity offsets
  • Social and ecological safeguards
  • Institutional analysis
  • No Net Loss
  • Nature conservation

Niak Sian Koh researches policy tools for balancing development with the conservation of biodiversity and social equity

Koh’s research focuses on policy tools that increase funding for biodiversity conservation. The Convention on Biological Diversity has listed several “innovative financing mechanisms” for scaling up biodiversity financing, which includes payments for ecosystem services, biodiversity offsets, markets for green products and climate financing. However, using these financial mechanisms for conservation has been contested because of certain social and ecological risks.

Firstly, social risks are faced if access to land is restricted; communities may lose access to nature and livelihoods. Secondly, measuring biodiversity is complex; it is technically difficult to develop valuation methods and exchange rules for biodiversity. Her PhD analyses the institutional design and implementation of biodiversity financing mechanisms to safeguard good outcomes for people and nature. Safeguards are examined for both high and lower-income countries, such as Sweden and Madagascar.

Prior to joining the SRC, Koh worked with research and communications at the AtKisson Group where she contributed articles on the Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life below water at She has also co-authored conference publications for the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), the Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development (SWEDESD), and the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC). Her background includes pricing analysis for Procter & Gamble Nordic and business development for start-ups in Malaysia.

Koh holds a joint Master in Sustainable Development from Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and a BSc in Business and Commerce from Monash University (Australia/Malaysia). She is a member of the Swedish Institute Alumni network, having received a scholarship from the Swedish government aimed at developing global leaders.

Awards and achievements:

  • Presented her research during the 2018 Biodiversity Law and Governance Day at the UN Biodiversity Conference, COP14 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Egypt
  • Awarded seed money from the Bolin Centre Research Area 8 on Biodiversity & Climate, 2018
  • Swedish Institute Scholar, 2013
  • Dean’s Commendation List of Monash University, 2012

Publications by Koh, Niak Sian