Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) Columbia University
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Environment and Security Program at CIESIN

About the Program
Environmental stress and human security are increasingly seen as intertwined. The Environment and Security Program at CIESIN plores these connections issue via scientific and applied research, data set development, and educational activities.
Projects
Spatial Data for Fragile States. Fragile states have found it difficult to harness the power of spatial data for governance, despite proven successes in other settings. CIESIN is leading a consortium of fragile state governments, spatial data experts and global policy makers in developing an action plan for implementing spatial data infrastructure in fragile states. In March 2014 CIESIN hosted a conference at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, Italy, to launch this effort.
Platform for Haiti Data and Resources. As part of the Haiti Research and Policy Program at the Earth Institute, CIESIN developed the Haiti Geoportal, a platform for environmental and other spatial data and resources from ongoing research in Haiti. Featuring an online interactive map, the geoportal enables communities and partners to download maps of benchmarks for core integrated development indicators, household socio-economic variables, and environmental features.
Mapping and Technical Support for Haiti. CIESIN provided technical support to the Office of E-Governance in Haiti in a range of mapping and data collection activities to help enhance governance in Haiti and national strategic planning.
Capacity-Building in West Africa. For the Environmental Protection Agency of Sierra Leone, CIESIN conducted a needs assessment to help the agency build up its spatial analysis, mapping, and environmental monitoring and modeling capabilities, Assessing Vulnerability to Climate Change. For the project African and Latin American Resilience to Climate Change (ARCC), technical support in climate science, vulnerability assessments, and vulnerability mapping was provided by CIESIN and Tetra Tech/ARD, the World Resources Institute, and others. Funded by USAID.
Climate Adaptation Information Systems for East Africa. For the project Planning for Resilience in East Africa through Policy, Adaptation, Research, and Economic Development (PREPARED), CIESIN and Tetra Tech/ARD assisted in the design of data and information systems for climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation, and water supply and sanitation services in East Africa. Funded by USAID.
Education
Executive Training in Environmental Peacebuilding is a one-week intensive program for preparing participants to understand the rapidly changing connections between environment and security dynamics, and equip them with the tools for managing the risks. The training is intended for mid-level managers who are responsible for assessments/warnings on environment- security risks or for designing programs to manage such risks, including people employed by diplomatic missions, global finance organizations, governmental and non-governmental organizations, consulting companies, and emerging market investment firms. Classes are held on topics ranging from environment-peace-security linkages and theory of conflict resolution for environmental peacebuilding, to assessment methodologies, data collection and visualization tools, and relevant communications issues. Faculty is drawn from from The Earth Institute, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, the Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program and industry experts. Select faculty from CIESIN include Marc Levy, deputy director, and Beth Fisher-Yoshida and Josh Fisher from Ac4.
Annual Course in Environment, Conflict and Resolution Strategies. Offered each year at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, this course provides an overview of links between environment, peace, and security and how such links are reflected in national policies, international programs, and business and NGO initiatives. An element of the course is an online simulation of a post-crisis conflict assessment and program implementation, “Ground|Work,” developed with the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning. For course specifics, please see our Education/Resources course listings.
Publications
Climate Change and Human Security. For the Working Group II’s contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5) on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, CIESIN deputy director, Marc Levy, was a lead author of chapter 12 on human security, a topic highlighted in the Report for the first time. Among this chapter’s key findings are that societies in conflict are more vulnerable to climate change; that migration is a widely used strategy for adapting to climate impacts; that climate change is likely to amplify conflict risk; and that climate change threatens to disrupt geopolitical security dynamics.
Peacebuilding and Natural Resouces Blog Series/EI State of the Planet. Earth Institute researchers, partners and experts in the international peacebuilding community explored a variety of topics related to managing natural resources to build peace, drawing on current issues and events and new research.
Designing Environmental Restoration Programs in Politically Fragile States: Lessons From Haiti.” A chapter by CIESIN program director Alex Fischer and Marc Levy in the book, Harnessing Natural Resources for Peacebuilding, explores the challenges of environmental restoration projects in countries and context of uncertainty and fragility.
“Climate Change Hotspots Mapping: What Have We Learned?” This article by CIESIN senior research associate Alex de Sherbinin, featured in a special issue of the journal Climatic Change, “Climate and Security: Evidence, Emerging Risks, and a New Agenda,” focuses on “hotspots” of climate change—regions especially vulnerable to current or future climate impacts where human security may be at risk.
“Enhancing the Relevance of Shared Socioeconomic Pathways for Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability Research.” Marc Levy is second author of the paper by Bas J. van Ruijven, Levy, and 22 colleagues. It appears in the Climatic Change Special Issue, "A Framework for the Development of New Socio-economic Scenarios for Climate Change Research.”
Where the Rain Falls: Climate Change, Food and Livelihood Security, and Migration Global Policy Report. (November 2012, 73 pages, 3.65 MB PDF). Released by CIESIN, CARE, and the United Nations University.
In Search of Shelter: Mapping the Effects of Climate Change on Human Migration and Displacement. (June 2009, 26 pages, 2.54 MB PDF) Climate change impacts are already causing displacement and migration, and consequences for almost all aspects of development, including human security and political stability could be devastating, says this report produced by CARE, CIESIN, UNHCR, UNU-EHS, and The World Bank. It contains original maps that pinpoint areas where climate change may cause displacement, and policy recommendations.
Assessment of Select Climate Change Impacts on U.S. National Security. (July 2008, 52 pages, 4.52 MB). This working paper resulted from research funded by the U.S. National Intelligence Council as an input to a National Intelligence Assessment on climate change implications for U.S. National Security, produced May 2008.
 

 

This page last modified: Oct 19, 2016