Without access to accurate and comprehensive data, development practitioners may struggle to develop appropriate strategies – they lack the information they need to determine what interventions are needed, and where, and their interventions may do more harm than good, or at best, be ineffective and miss their intended targets.
The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems is adopting advanced geo-informatic tools to enhance its decision making and ensure that rural communities in the world’s dry areas are adequately supported through the dissemination of appropriate technologies, practices, and polices.
These tools offer a full range of data sets and analyses. GIS maps are capable of accurately measuring present and future land use trends, and the cropping patterns, water usage, and demographic trends prevalent across target regions, countries, and communities. They also offer in-depth characterizations of physical characteristics – biodiversity, soils, and climate patterns – which allow the Program to target its interventions effectively and reduce vulnerability.
Accessing this information can also help development planners to identify opportunities for sustainable intensification, revealing, for instance, appropriate sites for the introduction of diversification strategies and technologies capable of raising production.
As the Program progresses, geo-informatic tools will be further consulted to assess the impacts of interventions, helping to evaluate whether interventions are successfully achieving their goals and objectives, or failing to reach their targets and therefore demanding a different approach.
The Geo-informatics Unit at ICARDA, the lead center of the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems, has developed a range of datasets and GIS maps to guide the Program’s research activities.
These have been organized according to the Program’s Target Regions:
West African Sahel and Dry Savannas: http://geoagro.icarda.org/en/cms/category/maps/16/regional
North Africa and West Asia: http://geoagro.icarda.org/en/cms/category/maps/12/regional
Eastern and Southern Africa: http://geoagro.icarda.org/en/cms/category/maps/15/regional