How Conflict Risk Mapping Analysis advances peace and development in South Sudan
At a cursory glance, maps and data may appear to be somewhat abstract and may not leap out as a critical priority for the world’s newest nation, especially at a time when there are so many pressing challenges. However, robust, credible and reliable data is critical to advancing economic livelihoods, human development, security and peace in South Sudan.
In September 2009 the United Nations Development Programme in conjunction with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) launched the Crisis Recovery Mapping Analysis project (CRMA) to provide a mechanism to collect and map data, analyze the security context, support conflict-sensitive planning and build the capacity of the NBS. The CRMA process begins at the state and county level with Government planners, county administrators, community leaders, religious leaders, members of civil society as well as women and youth coming together to provide information on human security risks which include community violence, inter-communal conflict, crime as well as environmental risks, poverty and food insecurity. This data is then verified, mapped and analyzed to provide support to the state strategic planning process as well as to UN agencies, International NGOs and state and national governments.
Geospatial data contributes to development in three ways. First, the data and maps provide a solid base of evidence on the security situation, living conditions, economic indicators and access to services across the country. This enables Government, development partners and humanitarian organizations to understand the context, analyze key challenges and respond appropriately. Second, CRMA data enables UNDP, Government counterparts and development partners to base planning on evidence as well as make informed decisions when allocating scarce resources. Third, with the unique aspect of mapping, CRMA allows the visualization of key challenges in South Sudan.
The ten states used this information in developing their respective three-year strategic plans to prioritise their allocation of services and better target development projects. Stakeholders working in the water access and security sectors have also used these maps to examine the location of water points, analyze communities’ access to water and then evaluate conflict stemming from competition over water. This information has informed decisions by the South Sudan Recovery Fund (SSRF), a UN Multi Partner Trust Fund on building police posts, boreholes and water haffirs in locations to reduce communal violence. Recently CRMA partnered with Population Services International (PSI) to provide maps and data identifying geographical risk areas to allow PSI to better target its malaria prevention programme in South Sudan.
Funded by the European Union, the CRMA project is supporting better coordination and targeting of donor funds as stakeholders are operating with a common baseline. The Informational Management Working Group (IMWG) through the CRMA project brings more than thirty institutions, including UN agencies, Government institutions and NGOs together to share information, set standards for data use and ensure development partners are using the same data. With a common baseline, stakeholders can coordinate development efforts and ensure that all of us are effectively working together towards the common goal of a peaceful democratic, just and prosperous South Sudan.