The Centre for Population and Environmental Development (CPED) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit and non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development and reducing poverty and inequality through policy oriented research and active engagement on development issues. CPED started as an action research group based in the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria in 1985. The action research group was concerned with applied research on sustainable development and poverty reduction challenges facing Nigeria. The research group also believed that communication, outreach and intervention programs, which can demonstrate the relevance and effectiveness of research findings and recommendations for policy and poverty reduction, especially at the grassroots level, must be key components of its action research. The emphasis was also on the participation of key stakeholders in the research and sustainable development programs in their locality. In order to translate its activities more widely, the Benin Social Science Research Group was transformed into an independent research and action Centre in 1998. It was formally registered in Nigeria as such by the National Corporate Affairs Commission in 1999. The establishment of CPED is influenced by three major developments. In the first place, the economic crisis of the 1980s that affected African countries including Nigeria led to poor funding of higher education, the emigration of academics to advanced countries which affected, negatively, the quality of research on national development issues emanating from the universities which are the main institutions with the structures and capacity to carry out research and promote discourse on socio-economic development. Secondly, the critical linkage between an independent research or think tank organisation and an outreach program that translates the findings into policy and at the same time test the applicability and effectiveness of the recommendations emanating from research findings has been lacking.
Finally, an independent institution that is focusing on a holistic approach to sustainable development and poverty reduction in terms of research, communications and outreach activities is needed in Nigeria. CPED recognises that the core functions of new knowledge creation (research) and the application of knowledge for development (communication and outreach) are key challenges facing sustainable development and poverty reduction in Nigeria where little attention has been paid to the use of knowledge generated in academic institutions. Thus, CPED was created as a way of widening national and regional policy and development debate, provide learning and research opportunities and give visibility to action programs relating to sustainable development and poverty reduction in different parts of Nigeria and beyond.