Lauren Herzer is a program associate in the Environmental Change and Security Program at the Wilson Center.
She leads the planning, development, and implementation of seminars, workshops, and conferences focusing on climate change, natural resources, conflict, and peacebuilding as well as programming for ECSP’s work on health, environment, livelihoods, population, and security.
Prior to the Wilson Center, Lauren completed a Master’s degree in Environmental Security and Peace at the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica and worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria. Lauren also served as a Crisis Corps volunteer with the Peace Corps and FEMA in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. She has a BA in History from UCLA.
How to Create a New Climate for Peace: Preventing Climate Change From Exacerbating Conflict and Fragility›June 19, 2015 // By Lauren Herzer
When the leaders of the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States – met earlier this month, they agreed to make fossil fuels a thing of the past by 2100. At the same time the G7 is also taking steps to make climate change’s connection to conflict a priority in the present.
›April 13, 2015 // By Lauren Herzer
Depending on how closely you pay attention to the OECD, you may have picked up on a subtle but meaningful change in this year’s States of Fragility report. Whereas previous reports were titled Fragile States, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has shifted its framing to focus less on states and more on conditions, less on the binary status of a “fragile state” and more on fragility as a universal condition that can impede development in all countries.
›June 12, 2014 // By Lauren Herzer
Rapid population growth can be a contributing factor to climate change vulnerability and should be considered in climate adaptation and peacebuilding efforts, said the Wilson Center’s Roger-Mark De Souza at a workshop on climate change adaptation and peacebuilding hosted by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Addis Ababa.
Despite “Greener Economy,” Extractive Industries’ Effects on Global Development, Stability Bigger Than Ever›
Despite the appearance of a new, “greener” economy, extractive industries – mining, oil, and natural gas – are now responsible for “moving more earth each year, just for mining and quarrying, than the global hydrological cycle,” writes the Transatlantic Academy’s Stacy VanDeveer in a recent paper, Still Digging: Extractive Industries, Resource Curses, and Transnational Governance in the Anthropocene. The costs of this activity are high and extend well beyond the wallet, he explains.
Ten years ago, a study was conducted in Mozambique to determine the impact of a new medicine for pregnant women with malaria. Over 1,000 women participated in a controlled trial of intermittent preventative treatment with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine – half received a placebo, the other half received the actual drug. All were given an insecticide-treated net.
Does access to quality water and sanitation have an effect on maternal health outcomes? That was a surprising topic of discussion on day one of the second-ever Global Maternal Health Conference hosted this week in Arusha, Tanzania.
Surprising because, to be honest, I did not think there would be strong disagreements over the relationship between water and sanitation (WASH) and maternal health. In my work with the Comparative Urban Studies Project, the two seem to be clearly linked.
The number of urban slum dwellers worldwide is staggering. According to UN-Habitat, 827.6 million people live in slums around the world. Despite meeting a Millennium Development Goal to significantly improve the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020, the total number of people living in these areas still increased by 55 million between 2000 and 2010. By 2020, the world slum population is projected to reach 889 million. With the majority of people now living in cities, urban priorities are synonymous with human security and environmental sustainability and must be accounted for in the global development agenda.
›Huffington Post article that called for “smarter programming and a coordivenated response” to chronic crises. “A regional drought has been overlaid with instability stemming from the coup in Mali and conflict in the northern part of that country where armed militant groups have forced the suspension of critical relief operations” and led to refugee movement into neighboring countries simultaneously challenged by drought and crop infestation. Understanding the complexity of this type of crisis, let alone visualizing the multiple factors that come into play, is a growing challenge for policymakers and analysts.
Enter version 2.0 of a mapping tool created by the Climate Change and African Political Stability Program (CCAPS) housed in the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, based at the University of Texas, Austin.
In collaboration with the College of William and Mary, Trinity College, and the University of North Texas, and with funding by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Minerva Initiative, CCAPS originally launched the mapping tool in March of this year. The map is powered by mapping and data tools from Esri and allows users to view any combination of datasets on international development projects, national governance indicators, incidences of conflict, and climate vulnerability data.
With an intuitive interface and compelling visuals, the mapping tool is a valuable resource for policy analysts and researchers to assess the complex interactions that take place among these environmental, political, and social factors. Advanced filters allow the user to identify a subset of conflicts and aid projects and there are nine base map styles from which to choose.
The mapping tool is anything but static. The team is constantly working to refine and enhance it through the inclusion of additional indicators and improvement of the interface. The updated version now includes CCAP’s new Social Conflict in Africa Database, which tracks a broad range of social and political unrest, and their partners’ real-time conflict dataset, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset (ACLED), which tracks real-time conflict data. Impressively, the ACLED data will be updated weekly.
I asked CCAPS program manager Ashley Moran to clarify how the governance indicators work in the model. She explained:
The national governance indicators are included in one of four baskets that make up the climate vulnerability model…and represent four potential sources of vulnerability: physical exposure to climate-related hazards, population density, household and community resilience, and governance and political violence. They used the term “basket” since most include several indicators that reflect the full dimensions of that source of vulnerability. The fourth basket includes five national governance indicators and one indicator of political violence.Moran also shared plans to add more detailed national governance data to the map:
We are developing a mapping tool specifically for the climate vulnerability model, which will allow users to see the component parts of the model. It will allow users to re-weight the baskets (e.g. if a user thought governance should have more weight within the model since the government response to climate hazards is key), and it will also allow users to examine an area’s vulnerability to just one or two baskets of the user’s particular interest (instead of all four baskets combined as the tool does now). When we launch this, a user will essentially be able to see the vulnerability model disaggregated into its component parts, so they’ll be able to map just the governance data in the model, if they want.In the coming months, the CCAPS team will add more detailed historical and projected data on climate vulnerability, data on disaster response capacity, as well as international aid projects coded for climate relevance.
Each of these datasets on their own are a wealth of vital information, but understanding how they intersect and the potential impact of their interactions is crucial to improving our understanding of them individually and collectively and creating responses that are timely and long-lasting.
If you’re in the San Diego area next week, check out Ashley Moran’s presentation of the mapping tool at the Esri International User Conference and the Worldwide Human Geography Data Working Group.
Sources: The Climate Change and African Political Stability Program, The Huffington Post.
Image Credit: CCAPS