Niak Sian



Postdoctoral researcher


Profile summary

  • Global environmental governance
  • Human rights review mechanisms
  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Biodiversity offsets/ecological compensation
  • Social and ecological safeguards
  • Institutional analysis

Niak Sian Koh’s research focuses on how biodiversity policies can be designed and implemented for effective and equitable outcomes

Koh is a postdoctoral researcher focusing on how biodiversity policies can be designed and implemented to meet our global goals for protecting and restoring nature.

Koh defended her PhD in Sustainability Science at the Stockholm Resilience Centre in 2022. Her thesis “Safeguarding nature and people: Integrating economics, politics, and human rights to transform biodiversity policies and governance”, discussed the design of effective economic policies, explored the intersection of human rights and biodiversity law, and navigated the politics and power underlying policies.

Her work highlights that a human rights-based approach provides important conceptual and political support for biodiversity governance. A range of cases across the globe and at different governance levels were used, from hydropower dams on the Mekong river, conservation projects in eastern and southern Africa, biodiversity offsets from six countries (Australia, England, Germany, Madagascar, South Africa, and the US), and the Convention on Biological Diversity as a global policy process.

Prior to joining the SRC, Koh worked with research and communications at environmental consultancies such as the Biodiversity Consultancy and the AtKisson Group. 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 business development and pricing analysis.

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 Swedish Institute scholar and a member of the Swedish Institute Alumni network.

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