Mapping makes it easier to identify links between climate change, conflict, and aid

Since last year, AidData has been working with the Robert S. Strauss Center’s Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) program at the University of Texas on a new mapping tool that is now available online (  The goal of the project is to shed light on the links between three major forces that play a role in shaping development in a number of countries in Africa: climate change, conflict, and development assistance.  Parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, southern Somalia, and South Sudan, for example, are particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change. CCAPS researchers are investigating the interplay of climate-related hazards and incidents of violent conflict, and the way conflict dynamics are changing over time and space.

Given the significance of aid flows in the region, CCAPS also wanted to be able to assess to what extent aid projects are targeted to areas of climate vulnerability and conflict. This requires information on where aid projects are happening at the subnational level.  Building on the experience of geocoding World Bank and African Development Bank projects, AidData and CCAPS partnered with the Government of Malawi’s Ministry of Finance to do a country-level geocoding project. In the pilot, geocoders used project data captured in Malawi’s Aid Management Platform (AMP), an aid information management system implemented by Development Gatewayto allow the government to track and report on aid flows.  AMP contains data on the activities of 27 donors in the country—so rather than mapping the activities of a single donor around the world, the team was able to map what multiple donors are doing across a single country. This makes it easier to see where donor efforts may be overlapping, and whether there are areas that are overlooked by the donor community.

The resulting map, powered by Esri, allows users to overlay data on climate vulnerability and conflict events, and, for Malawi, to see aid activities as well (quick demo video below). The next phase of the project will incorporate additional elements into the dashboard, including thematic data. It will also be possible for users to access raw CCAPS data and use the mapping tool to combine CCAPS datasets with other organizations’ data.

The Malawi geocoding effort also represents the first effort of the sort envisioned by the Open Aid Partnership, an initiative spearheaded by the World Bank Instituteto increase the openness and effectiveness of development assistance at the subnational level. Countries that have endorsed the Open Aid Partnership, which so far include the United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, Estonia, and Finland, intend to work together to geo-enable development assistance. Building on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), the Open Aid Partnership will facilitate creation of an Open Aid Map that visualizes the location of donor-financed programs at the local level.

Emily Kallaur is the Communications Manager for Development Gateway. 

Tags: data visualizationsgeo-referencingaid coordinationenvironment