Phil has been engaged in development, humanitarian and peacebuilding work since 1985. He lived for several years each in Sudan, Lesotho, Rwanda, Mali, Ghana and Uganda. Initially trained as a forester, with an MSc in Environmental Forestry, his work broadened progressively as he took on management and field leadership roles covering multiple technical sectors in CARE, ending up as country director in Uganda from 2000-2004. While in Uganda he helped establish the influential research and advocacy organisation Civil Society Organisations for Peace in Northern Uganda. He returned to his native UK in 2004, and from then until 2017 was Director of Programmes at International Alert, where he remains an Associate. During his time at Alert he also broadened his geographic scope of knowledge and experience beyond Sub-Saharan Africa to include Asia, MENA and the Caucasus, as well as UK and international policy advocacy.
Since January 2018 he has been operating as an independent consultant, advising international organisations and companies on peacebuilding, development and humanitarian actions. Having worked across all three dimensions of the Humanitarian, Development and Peacebuilding Nexus, Phil is committed to supporting organisations to make their commitment to the Nexus a reality. His advisory work is driven by the belief that most peacebuilding is, and will continue to be achieved by non-peacebuilding specialist, and thus to supporting them in developing the skills, tools, programmes and organisational characteristics that allow them to do so. He is an independent member of the Forum for Corporate Responsibility of international mining giant BHP, and he is also a published poet.