Tag Archive | crisis

New Report: The Feasibility of Developing a US National Parcel Database

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD charted new territory in an effort to develop a national database of standardized parcel-level property data collected directly from the most authoritative sources: local counties. HUD contracted with Abt Associates Inc. and their subcontractors, Fairview Industries and Smart Data Strategies, to embark on an exploratory project for assembling local assessor data, including key attributes such as property address, assessed value, land use, sales price, and sales history, for 127 targeted counties. The primary tasks of the project included identifying the appropriate data sources in each community, assembling the data and metadata, and standardizing the data in a common format to be accessible for HUD research efforts and for possibly aggregating data to higher levels of geography for public dissemination.

To download a PDF copy of the report, visit The Feasibility of Developing a National Parcel Database: County Data Records Project Final Report | HUD USER.

How the UN want to use Big Data to spot crises

Posted by Timo Luge on Social Media 4 Good Blog, May 15, 2012

Robert Kirkpatrick from the UN’s Global Pulse team is talking about how United Nations agencies would like to use big data to search for crises in real-time. It’s a fascinating talk and Kirkpatrick shows how his team has been using data mining techniques to monitor bread prices in Latin America and rice prices in Indonesia. …Equally interesting is what he would like to do in the future: for example get information showing the streams of money being sent via mobile banking in developing countries. If the UN could see changes in behaviour, he argues, then they might be able to spot issues that are in the process of developing.

For a full text of the article and link to the video of Robert Kirkpatrick’s talk visit How the UN want to use Big Data to spot crises : Social Media 4 Good.

Global Social Media Research Symposium

The Global Social Media Research Symposium on March 23, 2012, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at American University, Washington, DC, will explore current research on the worldwide use of social media for societal reform and cultural-political transformation. The symposium will feature representatives from major technology companies, policy experts, journalists, researchers, and research groups. Panel sessions will be devoted to social media technologies and innovation along with their application across national borders, the role of government in promoting access to these technologies, and recent research findings on social media reform movements worldwide.

The Global Social Media Research Symposium will take place in the new School of International Service building Abramson Family Founders Room on the main campus of American University. Refreshments during session breaks and reception at the conclusion of the Symposium at 5 p.m. are provided. For information, contact Prof. Shalini Venturelli, School of International Service: sventur@american.edu and Jason Smith, Symposium Director: js1232a@american.edu.

For more information, visit Global Social Media Research Symposium | International Communication Program | School of International Service | American University, Washington, D.C..

New CRS Report: Foreign Assistance: Public Private-Partnerships

United States Agency for International Development

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Marian Leonardo Lawson
Analyst in Foreign Assistance
Congressional Research Service

June 13, 2011

SUMMARY: The flow of private sector resources to developing countries has increased significantly in recent decades. Seeking opportunity in this changing environment, government development assistance agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the State Department are  working with private sector entities in unprecedented ways to determine when and if such partnerships can lead to improved development results. As explained in the Obama Administration’s 2010 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), “private sector partners can add value to our missions through their resources, their capacity to establish presence in places we cannot, through the technologies, networks, and contacts they can tap, and through their specialized expertise or knowledge.” More than 1,000 such partnerships, involving more than 3,000 private entities, have been established since 2001.

Potential Benefits of and Concerns About Partnerships
Modern public-private partnerships (PPPs), characterized by joint planning, joint contributions, and shared risk, are viewed by many development experts as an opportunity to leverage resources, mobilize industry expertise and networks, and bring fresh ideas to development projects. Partnering with the private sector is also widely believed to increase the likelihood thatprograms will continue after government aid has ended. From the private sector perspective, partnering with a government agency can bring development expertise and resources, access to government officials, credibility, and scale.

Nearly 10 years after the formation of USAID’s Global Development Alliance (GDA), PPPs for development have received mixed reviews. PPPs require significant effort to create and manage, and critics argue that inadequate data exist to demonstrate that these efforts are the most effective way to use limited development resources. Others have expressed concern about partnerships diverting resources away from proven development programs or recipients. Still others are concerned that PPPs, particularly those involving corporate partners and focusing on trade and economic growth, may lead to outsourcing of U.S. jobs. Partnership proponents have varying views as well. Some feel that the goal of mainstreaming the PPP model as a tool for development has been achieved and they are ready to declare victory and move on, while others contend that the potential for using PPPs in development has only begun to be realized and that expanded partnerships are the future of development assistance.

Issues for Congress and the Scope of This Report
To date, the movement toward this “new generation of partnerships,” as it has been called by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has been driven by successive administrations with limited congressional involvement. However, recent reviews of U.S. foreign assistance policy, through the QDDR and a Presidential Study Directive on Global Development Policy, may spur congressional action on foreign assistance reform in the 112th Congress. As part of this effort, Congress may consider several issues that affect or are affected by the use of PPPs, including budget and procurement policies, interagency leadership, international commitments, and the role of aid within broader development policy. This report discusses the evolution of private sector involvement in U.S. foreign assistance programs over recent decades, how globalization has driven the modern approach to development partnerships, potential benefits and drawbacks of PPPs, and how partnerships are being used by other bilateral donors and multilateral development Foreign Assistance: Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) agencies. The report then discusses partnership-related issues that may be of interest to Congress as part of the foreign assistance authorization and reform process.

For full text of the report, visit the Federation of American Scientists’ website:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R41880.pdf

Crisis Management: Understanding the Real Impact of ICTs, Social Media and Crisis Mapping 

Digital Development Debates, published by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, features a short essay from the ICT for Peace Foundation looking at the use of ICTs in crisis response, peace-keeping, conflict resolution and state-building.

by Daniel Stauffacher, Barbara Weekes, Sanjana Hattotuwa, June 23, 2011

The idea of trying to better understand the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in promoting and building peace emerged, at a policy level, in the context of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)[1]. In preparing for the first phase of the Summit, held in Geneva in 2003, it was recognized that the scope of what was considered primarily a technical matter of communications and infrastructure needed to be enlarged to encompass content, development, socio-political goals and emergent fields such as e-health, e-education, and e-government. Information and communication technology has become a societal issue presenting both opportunities and challenges. The WSIS “Geneva Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action” consequently emphasized the central role of ICTs in many areas of economic and social development. The risk of a growing ‘digital divide’, where ICTs could reinforce rather than reduce inequalities was acknowledged, and recommendations were made in order to turn the digital divide into a digital opportunity for all. …

for full text of the article visit Digital Development Debates – 04 Media – Disaster relief – Crisis Management  .

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PBS Video: Crisis mappers: Mobile technology helps disaster victims worldwide

PBS, May 13, 2011

There are now 6.8 billion people on the planet. And about 5 billion cell phones. This extraordinary ability to connect has turned a modern convenience into a lifeline through a system called crisis mapping. It first gained prominence after the earthquake in Haiti, when people used their cell phones to send text messages to a centralized response team. Since then, crisis mapping has been used to help victims in emergency zones following the tornadoes in the Midwest, the earthquake in Japan and the unrest in the Middle East. Today, there are hundreds of volunteers in more than 50 countries creating maps of crises around the world, using a system that incorporates the lessons learned in Haiti. Alison Stewart reports on this worldwide network of volunteers – regular people — using a breakthrough technology to help others.

For link to video, visit Video: Crisis mappers: Mobile technology helps disaster victims worldwide | Need to Know.

LIBYA: How online mapping helped crisis response

by IRIN news, a service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, May 12, 2011

NAIROBI, 12 May 2011 (IRIN) – Soon after the Libyan crisis broke, decision-makers and humanitarian workers faced a critical challenge: lack of information about events inside the country. Within hours, Andrej Verity, information management officer at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva, called a meeting with volunteer-based and/or technically focused groups. OCHA activated the Standby task force, comprising more than 150 volunteers skilled in online crisis mapping. The idea was to map out social and traditional media reports from within Libya. That led to the creation of LibyaCrisisMap.net. …

For full text of the article, visit IRIN Middle East | LIBYA: How online mapping helped crisis response | Libya | Conflict | Economy | Governance | Refugees/IDPs | Security | Urban Risk.

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