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

James Cameron is an international lawyer, policy adviser and entrepreneur. He is a partner in a new enterprise called Systemiq, offering a service to create system level changes through mobilising capital and talent, and he is the first Executive Fellow at Yale. He has founded, and been on the founding Boards of numerous organisations designed to use international law to protect the environment and achieve sustainable development. He was also formerly a member of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Group, and Infrastructure UK's advisory board.

Ann Grant

Ann Grant is a Board member for Tullow Oil, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Rift Valley Institute. She was Vice Chairman at Africa Standard Chartered Bank, 2005-2014, High Commissioner to South Africa 2000-2005 and a British Diplomat from 1971-2005.

Isobel Hunter

Isobel Hunter is a former Human Resources consultant with a particular focus on international organisations in the not-for-profit and public sector.

Richard Laing

Richard Richard Laing 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 has also worked previously in agribusiness and at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Elizabeth Ondaatje

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

Martin Tyler

Martin Tyler is Director of Finance and Resources at the Refugee Council and has previously worked at a senior level in a number of international charities including Amnesty International UK, Christian Aid and the Fairtrade Foundation. At a governance level he has served on the Boards of Divine Chocolate, Pesticide Action Network and Television for the Environment.

Chris West

Chris West is a partner at philanthropic advisory organisation Sumerian Partners, and was the former Director of the Shell Foundation. He has worked with a variety of donors, governments, NGOs and businesses in over 100 developing countries and has lived in both West and East Africa. He is a member of DFID’s Advisory Group on Economic Development and a Trustee of various charities (including Kent Wildlife Trust).

Sam Sharpe

Sam Sharpe has been Chief Financial Officer of Save the Children UK since 2014. Before that, he worked for the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). He spent 13 years overseas – managing programmes in Zambia and Zimbabwe, and in India during the 1990s, before heading DFID’s South African, and then Indian offices. From 2007 to 2010, he was DFID’s Director of Finance and Corporate Performance.

Yves Daccord

Yves Daccord is Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva. A former journalist, TV producer and international relations expert, his ICRC career has spanned more than two decades, taking him to Israel and the Occupied Territories, Sudan, Yemen, Chechnya and Georgia. Prior to his appointment as Director-General, he held the posts of Head of Communication Division and Director of Communications. He assumed the chair of Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR) in January 2015.

Tribute to Sue Unsworth

We are deeply saddened by the passing of former Board member Sue Unsworth. She served the Board for a number of years with great distinction. The Institute has benefited hugely from her deep sense of engagement and practical advice. Sue will be greatly missed.