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Phil Vernon


Phil has been engaged in development, humanitarian and peacebuilding work for thirty-five years. He lived for several years each in Sudan, Lesotho, Rwanda, Mali, Ghana and Uganda. He returned to his native UK in 2004, and from then until 2017 was Director of Programmes at International Alert, a peacebuilding organisation.

Since January 2018 he has been operating as an independent consultant, advising international organisations on peacebuilding, development and humanitarian actions. He remains an Associate of International Alert, and also of Peaceful Change Initiative and Interpeace. His CV can be found here:

Consulting Services include

  • Strategic analysis and programme design in peacebuilding and development, in fragile or conflict-affected contexts:
    • Background research and analysis
    • Organisational, thematic or country level strategy design
    • Programme and project design or adaptation
  • Implementation guidance, training and support for peacebuilding, development and humanitarian projects
  • Guidance on integrating conflict-sensitivity and peacebuilding into development and humanitarian programmes (the Humanitarian, Development & Peacebuilding Nexus)
  • Project and programme evaluation
  • Research on specific peacebuilding topics or contexts to inform policy and/or policy advocacy
  • Writing and editing
  • Advice to businesses on their societal relations, including how to operate in conflict-affected contexts, at policy or project level
  • Short-term interim management, and management/leadership advice.

His consulting assignments have included:

  • Researching and writing a strategic assessment of the Horn of Africa for the UN, and contributing to a UN conflict prevention strategy for the same region
  • Designing initiatives to build peace in Ukraine, Syria, South Caucasus and the Liptako-Gourma Triangle in the Sahel
  • Drafting an approach for building resilience in the Lake Chad Basin, for the UN
  • Researching the impacts of local peacebuilding initiatives in a variety of contexts
  • Developing conflict-sensitivity guidance for the EU, the UN and the World Bank in recovery situations, Peace and Conflict Analysis guidelines for the International Labour Organisation, and a Peacebuilding Framework for UNICEF.
  • Evaluating the conflict-sensitivity of several stabilisation projects in the DR Congo
  • Evaluating a €60 million government grant to two major Dutch NGOs
  • Writing various briefs on aspects of peacebuilding and conflict sensitivity for a range of donor and other international agencies.

In 2010 he was the lead writer of Working with the Grain to Change the Grain: Looking Beyond the Millennium Development Goals, a critique of overseas development aid which proposed an alternative model of support to people in poor and fragile contexts, and which in many respects anticipated the Sustainable Development Goals agreed five years later. In 2015 he wrote Peace through Prosperity: Integrating Peacebuilding into Economic Development, which outlines a framework in which businesses and others can contribute to peace as an integral component of their plans. In 2017, International Alert published his account of why peacebuilding matters and needs more engagement and support today, Redressing the Balance.

He was a trustee and chair of the Programmes Committee for the charity Build Africa from 2005-2012, is a member of mining company BHP’s Forum for Corporate Responsibility, and was a trustee of International Training & Research Centre INTRAC from 2015-2020. Phil has an MSc in Environmental Forestry, lives in West Kent and enjoys family, cross-country running and writing poetry – a few poems can be found here. A micro-collection, This Quieter Shore, was published in 2018 by Hedgehog Poetry Press and can now be downloaded as a free pdf file. A full collection, Poetry After Auschwitz (2020) was published by, and available from Sentinel Poetry, a second collection, Watching the Moon Landings, was published by Hedgehog Poetry Press in January 2022. Phil is treasurer of the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society. Email:


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