As a graduate student in geomorphology, Andrew Watson researched desert soils in Tunisia and Namibia. Since then, his technical focus has shifted from the earth sciences and remote sensing to environment policy and impact assessment, natural resource management, and biodiversity conservation. Most recently, his work has included climate change adaptation, with an emphasis on the sustainable use of water resources, and land tenure and property rights. Over the past 35 years, Andrew has conducted research and implemented development projects around the world in diverse natural environments: from the tropical forests of Indonesia, Cambodia, Madagascar, Uganda, Bolivia, and Brazil, to the deserts of Morocco, Namibia, and Saudi Arabia.

“Initiatives that focus on fixing problems rather than building on existing assets rarely succeed. For me, good development is about helping people realize the full value of their own resources—knowledge and natural capital, as well as the will and commitment to strive for a better life.”

In his 25 years with DAI, Andrew has undertaken three long-term assignments—in Madagascar, Malawi, and Morocco. Andrew’s first assignment with DAI was for three years in Madagascar, where he helped build institutional capacity to regulate natural resource conservation and to use and assess the impact of proposed development projects. Later, from 1999 to 2003, Andrew was based in Malawi, where he managed the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Community Partnerships for Sustainable Resource Management (COMPASS) activity. COMPASS supported community-based natural resource management in the forestry, fisheries, and wildlife sectors. From 2010 to 2013, he was Chief of Party on USAID’s Morocco Economic Competitiveness program, a four-year initiative that promoted trade and created jobs for youth by improving agricultural production and agro-processing. Andrew has led DAI’s Environment sector (as Managing Director from 2003 to 2010; and as Vice President from 2013 to the present). The technical services provide by the sector span water resource management (including water and sanitation), natural resource management, energy and climate change, and land tenure and property rights. From 2007 to 2011, he sat on the DAI Board of Directors.

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