Using geographic analysis to inform better international development policy making and decision making: Examples from USAID.

Authors: Brent McCusker*, West Virginia University
Topics: Development
Keywords: Policy, USAID, geographic analysis, policy engagement
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: 8224, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Many journal articles in geography conclude with an almost obligatory, but completely perfunctory, statement about how policy makers could or should use the results of the paper’s analysis to make better decisions. It remains questionable as to whether or not the discipline of geography has truly been sufficiently engaged with policy making and policy decision making. In this paper, I will present the results of seven years worth of close, often daily, interaction with decision-makers within USAID’s geographic analysis unit, the Geocenter. I will detail the USAID’s policy and programming process and then show, with real examples, how geographic thought was used to inform decision making. I will suggest ways in which academia and policy can work closer together, but also note areas where significant challenges will remain. I will also suggest skill sets that students may want to gain should they be interested in this type of engagement. This paper will not represent the views of the US Government nor those of USAID nor USAID’s Geocenter.

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