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David Watson

Director of External Affairs

  • Public Affairs and Communications
Portrait of David Watson

David is ODI’s Director of External Affairs. He leads the public affairs and communications team and works closely with the Chief Executive on external engagement.

David has worked in the charitable and public sectors on policy development, international negotiations, public affairs and partnerships since 2002. He was previously ODI’s Head of Public Affairs and Head of Strategic Partnerships. In both roles David advised on maximising research impact, stakeholder management and convening. He also led on strategic engagement planning for priority projects.

Prior to joining ODI, David was a UK civil servant and diplomat, including for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). During his 10 years working for the UK government, David led EU negotiations for the UK in Brussels on international development, including on the Sustainable Development Goals and Financing for Development. He worked in Ethiopia on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. David was private secretary to the Secretary of State and Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change. He has also led policy development and stakeholder engagement on energy and climate change.

David has an MA in Conflict, Security and Development from Kings College London.

  1. What next for UK international development?


  2. Moving away from aid: lessons from country experiences


  3. Prospects for LGBTQI+ rights worldwide in 2019


  4. Reviewing DFID's new single departmental plan


  5. Aid, security and Britain’s role in the world: proposals for coherent government action

    Briefing/policy paper