Strategy and leadership

Our strategic plan sets out the five main areas, from the 'global to the local', in which ODI aims to make a difference.

ODI strategic plan front coverAs major global summits on the Sustainable Development goals, financing development, climate change and the humanitarian architecture shape the future of international development, here's how we'll respond to the challenges ahead.

Our five strategic priorities

  • Eradicating absolute poverty and equalising opportunity
  • Promoting effective action on climate change and managing resources sustainably
  • Protecting people threatened by conflict, disasters and insecurity
  • Building accountable and inclusive institutions
  • Increasing productivity and creating jobs through transformative growth


A change in focus

  • The growing focus on global public goods like climate change mitigation, and the decreasing relevance of categories like 'the global south', mean that we will work increasingly on policy in developed countries as well as ‘developing’ countries.
  • As private investment becomes ever more important in development finance, we will increase our engagement with private sector actors to promote sustainable development and poverty reduction.
  • We will focus increasingly beyond the ‘aid’ debate, seeking to promote solutions to global development through influencing rules, policies and practice in areas such as tax, trade, migration, climate change and global governance in ways that benefit the poorest people.

To find out more, download the ODI strategic plan 2014-2017.


Our Board

James Cameron - Chair, ODI Board

James Cameron, Chair

A lawyer by training, James is the non-executive chairman and co-founder of Climate Change Capital and has spent much of his legal career working on climate change matters. He is also a member of the WEF’s Agenda Council on Climate Change, a Trustee Member of the UK Green Building Council and the Carbon Disclosure Project, and a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group and of the Green Investment Bank Commission.

Ann Grant

British Diplomat from 1971-2005, High Commissioner to South Africa 2000-2005. Vice Chairman Africa at Standard Chartered Bank, 2005-2014.

Isobel Hunter

Independent human resources consultant with a particular focus on international organisations in the not-for-profit and public sector.

Richard Laing

Richard has a number of non-executive roles across commercial organisations and NGOs, with a focus on developing countries. He was Chief Executive of CDC Group plc, the UK’s bilateral Development Finance Institution until 2011. Prior to this, he held positions at De La Rue plc in Brazil and the UK, latterly as Group Finance Director. He worked previously in agribusiness and at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Elizabeth Ondaatje

Elizabeth is a public policy researcher. Formerly at the RAND Corporation, she has published widely on a range of issues. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of Human Rights Watch California Committee and on the Advisory Board of the Fulbright Scholars Enrichment Program.

Martin Tyler

Martin is Executive Director, Operations, at Asthma UK and has previously worked at a senior level in a number of international charities including Amnesty International, Christian Aid and the Fairtrade Foundation. He holds various other Trusteeships.

Sue Unsworth

Sue Unsworth (elected 2004) is a Principal with The Policy Practice. She was formerly Regional Director for Asia and subsequently Chief Governance Adviser at the Department for International Development. She has also been a Research Associate with the Governance Team at IDS, University of Sussex.

Chris West

Chris West was appointed Director of the Shell Foundation in 2008. He has lived in both East and West Africa and has previously worked for DfID. Chris was involved in early discussions around the creation of the Shell Foundation and joined shortly after its launch in 2000 as Deputy Director. He also played a leading role in co-founding GroFin, which is now the leading provider of business development assistance and appropriate finance to start-up and growing small and medium sized enterprises in Africa.