Desmond McNEILL

Foreign aid policy; sustainable development; multilateral organisations; the relationship between research and policy; development ethics; interdisciplinary research.

Country experience
Tanzania, Mali, Egypt, Sudan, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda;
Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Jordan, China, Thailand, Nepal;
Ecuador, Chile.

English (mother tongue), Norwegian (fluent), Swedish, Danish, French (some), Spanish (fair).

Educational and professional qualifications

B.A in economics, University of Cambridge (class II-I)

Graduate School Entry (Princeton test, USA): top 1.5% of candidates

Ph.D in Economics, University of London


Emeritus, Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo. Research and occasional teaching responsibilities.

Research Director, Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo. Responsible for research area on Global and Regional Governance for Sustainable Development.

Visiting Scholar, Graduate Centre, City University New York, Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies.

Visiting Scholar, University of California, Berkeley, Institute of International Studies.

Director of the Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo.

Adviser to Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Oslo.

Partner, Development Consulting A/S, Oslo.

Lecturer, Department of Economics, University of Edinburgh.

Lecturer, Development Planning Unit, University College London.

Adviser to the Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Construction, Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Funded by ODA/DfID)

Lecturer, Development Planning Unit, University College London.

Consultant with Economic Associates Ltd, London.

Planning Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (British Volunteer Programme)

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Research Projects

(Lead Researcher unless otherwise specified)

Evidence, knowledge and power in international development policy and practice.Member EU-Norface, seminar series.

Land use and sustainable development in Developing Countries (Lead Researcher from University of Oslo). Project Coordinator is the Agricultural Economics Research Institute, The Netherlands (EU: LUPIS).

Strategy and methodology for improved IWRM – An integrated interdisciplinary assessment in four twinning river basins. (Lead Researcher from University of Oslo). Project Co-ordinator is the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (EU: STRIVER).

Development Ethics and Human Rights as the Basis for Global Poverty Reduction (Research Council of Norway).

Ethics, Rights and Poverty: Global theory and national practice (Research Council of Norway).

New Management Systems of Wild South American Camelids: Socio-cultural and economic impacts (Lead Researcher from University of Oslo). Project Coordinator was Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen (EU).

Bridging Research and Policy: National Poverty Reduction Strategies in Africa (World Bank/Global Development Network).

Adaptation Strategies for Rural Communities in Ecuador and Peru to the Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts of El Niño (World Bank).

The Influence of Private Actors on the Multilateral System (Research Council of Norway).

Strengthening Policy-making for Development and the Environment (EU - shared cost RTD action).

CANDID: the creation, adoption, negation and distortion of ideas in development assistance (Research Council of Norway).

Interdisciplinarity, with special reference to development and the environment (University of Oslo steering group for environment research).

Consumption patterns and social change
(Research Council of Norway).

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Consultancy & Training

Employed by NVE as Adviser to Health Division, NORAD, primarily in the water supply sector. In this capacity, undertook appraisal or review missions in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other major tasks:
- responsible for the professional planning and organising of a major international conference (the Global Forum of the Collaborative Council) held in Oslo, September 1991, and hosted by NORAD, attended by 150 persons from 60 countries and aid agencies.
- member of an international team engaged to prepare an independent assessment of the UNDP/World Bank Water Supply and Sanitation Programme. Responsible for the Africa report (sub-teams in West and East Africa). Travel to Washington, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Ethiopia.
- responsible for the preparation of draft "Economic and Financial Guidelines" for use by NORAD staff in appraising projects.

Consultant on the World Bank Study "Natural Resource Management for Sustainable Development - A Study of Feasible Policies, Institutions and Investment Activities in Nepal with Special Emphasis on the Hills"; responsible for the component on migration, urbanisation and regional policy.

Evaluation studies of a range of activities financed by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Development Cooperation/ NORAD:
- the Grant to the Women in Development Divisions of World Bank and UNIDO.
- The Economic Research Coooperation between the University of Dar es Salaam and the University of Trondheim.
- The postgraduate Diploma Course in Soil Science at the Norwegian Agricultural University.
- Review of all postgraduate diploma courses in Norway financed by MDC/NORAD.
- Preparation of a report on the evaluation practices of multilateral agencies; on behalf of the Multilateral Division.

Preparation of background papers on "Sustainability" and "Environmental Issues" for submission to the Development Assistance Committee of OECD; on behalf of 2nd Planning Division, MDC.

Assessment of the Postgraduate Diploma Course in Hydropower Development at the Norwegian Institute of Technology, University of Trondheim.

Consultant to ICIMOD (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development), Kathmandu, Nepal; to assist in preparing and conducting a workshop on rural-urban linkages in the Himalaya-Hindu Kush Region. Two visits in the year.

Consultant to ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Nepal, to develop a methodology for the planned urbanisation of the Kathmandu Valley, and five other valleys in the Himalaya-Hindu Kush Region.

Consultant on an Asian Development Bank financed feasibility study for a $50 million urban infrastructural development programme in Tangerang and Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia. Responsible for economic, financial and institutional aspects.

Leader of a team conducting a series of training workshops throughout Sri Lanka, on behalf of National Housing Development Authority, to develop and implement a new rural housing policy, based on a decentralised, support role with the emphasis on community initiative, and local technology and building materials.

Leader of a five-man team to China to conduct seminars in urban development planning, for practising and academic planners, in Peking, Xian, Nanjing and Shanghai.

Consultant to the Ministry of Public Works and Settlements, Ankara, Turkey, to advise on requirements for the training of urban planners - financed by the British Council.

Visiting lecturer (two periods of one month) at the Institute of Technology, Bandung, Indonesia. Conducted courses in urban project planning and appraisal to students on the MSc in Urban and Regional Planning, and lectured on transport economics to students on the MSc in Highway Engineering and Development under a project funded by the World Bank.

Visited Sri Lanka to establish a programme of training workshops under the Million Houses Programme, to be financed by the World Bank.

Commissioned by the British Overseas Development Administration to prepare a manual for the planning and appraisal of rural water supplies, the first of a new series of sector manuals for staff of the ODA and decision - makers in developing countries.

Consultant to the Ministry of Finance, Indonesia, to advise on the financing and management of urban water supplies throughout the country.

Consultant to the study team on the World Bank financed Capital Investment Folio Project, Manila, Philippines, to advise on a methodology for the appraisal of urban projects.

Consultant on the World Bank financed planning study of Jabotabek (Greater Jakarta) Indonesia. Responsible for assessing financial resources available to the public sector, and appraising proposed projects in transport, housing, water supply, etc.

Co-Director of three Training Workshops for staff of the Madras Metropolitan Development Authority and associated agencies in Tamil Nadu, India, in Economic Policy, Economic Planning, and Financial Management.

Adviser to the Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Construction, Colombo, Sri Lanka, financed by the British Overseas Development Administration. Responsible for advising on policy, liaising with foreign aid agencies, and preparing and appraising projects in the fields of housing, water supply and urban development. Member of the National Coordinating Committee for the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade. Responsible for preparation of a Draft National Plan for Water Supply and Sanitation 1981-90. Co-author of Policy Paper on Slums and Shanties. Assisted staff of the Urban Development Authority in the preparation and appraisal of projects. Presented paper on the economic aspects of sanitation to the National Workshop on Sanitation sponsored by UNICEF. Attended conference on Appropriate Construction Technology sponsored by ILO and summarised findings in a paper in the Economic Review.

Director of first Training Workshop for staff of the Amman Urban Region Planning Group, Jordan, on Project Appraisal in the Regional Context, financed by USAID.

Consultant on the North-East Botswana Water Supply Study, financed by the African Development Bank. Responsible for demand forecasts, and comparison of alternative sources of supply.

Consultant on Study of Low-Cost Housing, Juba, Sudan, financed by the British Overseas Development Administration. Responsible for all economic aspects.

Member of a team commissioned by the Overseas Division of the UK Building Research Establishment to review housing policies in 15 Third World cities. Responsible for economic and financial aspects of the study.

Consultant to the World Bank to undertake a mission to Bamako, Mali, to prepare a review of urban services in the city, as a basis for a subsequent aid project.

Consultant to the World Bank to assist in the review and revision of a study on urban and regional policy in Iran.

Consultant on the UNDP financed Master Plan for the reconstruction of the city and region of Ismailia, Egypt. Member of a large multi-disciplinary team of planners, engineers, agronomists, economists etc. Responsible in the first stage for the economic appraisal of the proposed reclamation of 0.5m acres of land for agriculture. Responsible in the second stage for economic aspects of proposed infrastructural investment in the city and region.

Consultant on the Indonesian Ports Study, financed by UNDP with Asian Development Bank as Executing Agency. Responsible for preparing forecasts, by origin and destination, of exports and coastal trade for the ports of Surabaya, Panjang and Belawan (Medan).

Consultant on the U.K. Fuel Prices and Transport Study, financed by the National Economic Development Office, to assess the impact of oil price increases on transport demand. Responsible for freight transport component of the study.

Consultant on the Water Supply and Sewerage Study, Mali, financed by UNDP with World Health Organization as Executing Agency. Responsible for the economic aspects of the Bamako Sewerage Study, including demographic forecasts and the appraisal of alternative proposals.

Consultant on the National Ports Study, Ecuador, financed by the British Ministry of Overseas Development. Responsible for forecasts by origin and destination of imports and exports through all ports in the country.

Consultant on the Water Supply and Sewerage Study, Mali. Responsible for economic aspects of the Water Supply Sector Study, including the priority ranking of towns based on assessment of forecast costs and benefits; institutional aspects and tariff policy.

Consultant on the Hunterston Development Study, Scotland, co-financed by the Scottish Office. Responsible for studies of the iron and steel industry and its location policy.

Consultant on a feasibility study for urban road investment in Barbados; and for a multi-purpose dam in Southern Ecuador.

Planning Officer in Ministry of Agriculture, Dar es Salaam. Engaged in preparation, appraisal and monitoring of projects in the Five Year Development Plan; liaison with Treasury and Ministry of Development Planning. Special responsibility for World Bank livestock project, and World Bank agricultural training project. Other duties included budgeting for the Research and Training Division; assistance to the Tanzania Tea Authority; appraising a project for a new beef canning plant.

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Recent Appointments and Elected Positions

Membership of Organisations
  • The International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food)
  • Advisory Board of the Independent Panel on Global Governance for Health