Crisis Mapping Climate Change, Conflict and Aid in Africa

I recently gave a guest lecture at the University of Texas, Austin, and finally had the opportunity to catch up with my colleague Josh Busby who has been working on a promising crisis mapping project as part of the university’s Climate Change and African Political Stability Program (CCAPS).

Josh and team just released the pilot version of its dynamic mapping tool, which aims to provide the most comprehensive view yet of climate change and security in Africa. The platform, developed in partnership with AidData, enables users to “visualize data on climate change vulnerability, conflict, and aid, and to analyze how these issues intersect in Africa.” The tool is powered by ESRI technology and allows researchers as well as policymakers to “select and layer any combination of CCAPS data onto one map to assess how myriad climate change impacts and responses intersect. For example, mapping conflict data over climate vulnera-bility data can assess how local conflict patterns could exacerbate climate-induced insecurity in a region. It also shows how conflict dynamics are changing over time and space.”

The platform provides hyper-local data on climate change and aid-funded interventions, which can provide important insights on how development assistance might (or might not) be reducing vulnerability. For example, aid projects funded by 27 donors in Malawi (i.e., aid flows) can be layered on top of the climate change vulnerability data to “discern whether adaptation aid is effectively targeting the regions where climate change poses the most significant risk to the sustainable development and political stability of a country.”

If this weren’t impressive enough, I was positively amazed when I learned from Josh and team that the conflict data they’re using, the Armed Conflict Location Event Data (ACLED), will be updated on a weekly basis as part of this project, which is absolutely stunning. Back in the day, ACLED was specifically coding historical data. A few years ago they closed the gap by updating some conflict data on a yearly basis. Now the temporal lag will just be one week. Note that the mapping tool already draws on the Social Conflict in Africa Database (SCAD).

This project is an important contribution to the field of crisis mapping and I look forward to following CCAPS’s progress closely over the next few months. I’m hoping that Josh will present this project at the 2012 International Crisis Mappers Conference (ICCM 2012) later this year.

6 responses to “Crisis Mapping Climate Change, Conflict and Aid in Africa

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  2. Stephanie Rudat

    Patrick – Is this limited to Africa? I’m interested because I’m on the BoA for Team Rubicon – and think this would be tremendously useful in our disaster relief.recovery efforts around the globe. Please email me.

    Thanks, Stephanie

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  5. paul kor sene

    Paul Kor Sene we can resume that in west africa with the lack of rain this last 10 years.we got a late of the rain.for exemple in senegal,we got 2 season the dry and the rain,in this last year we see that the rain come to late the consequence of the climate change.then we have a bad agriculture profit and the people of the village have to migrate to the city.and we got only one city with oppurtunity of jobs but the city is not to big.come the insecurity who is the result of many conflict.but we have aid from other country but the bad governement which affect many country in africa not help…..
    paul kor sene student in geography in cheikh anta diop university.licence form human geography

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