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Strauss Center Launches Complex Emergencies Dashboard

FlagsIconThis is a cross-post from the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law

31 May 2018

The Strauss Center’s Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia (CEPSA) program released the new Complex Emergencies Dashboard today. In partnership with Development Gateway, CEPSA developed the online mapping platform to enable policymakers and researchers to visualize CEPSA datasets on climate vulnerability, conflict, national disaster preparation, and international climate and disaster aid, along with related external datasets on other security concerns like food access and forced migration.

“The Complex Emergencies Dashboard offers a new way for policymakers to analyze large volumes of data to explore how varied insecurities converge in Asia and where and how governance dynamics could tip these insecurities into complex emergencies,” said Ashley Moran, Director of the Strauss Center’s State Fragility Initiative and lead on the CEPSA team developing the dashboard.

Using Esri technology, the CEPSA dashboard brings together raw data and modeling, mapping, and qualitative analysis to provide a data-driven framework for analyzing the convergence of security vulnerabilities and responses in South and Southeast Asia.

“South and Southeast Asia are understudied regions in the field of climate and security. Yet with some of the highest populations in the world exposed to climate hazards, this region is critically important to understand better. The patterns of conflict and protest are distinct from other regions, as are the governance challenges in cooperating on common threats like climate change and shared resources such as transboundary water sources. We hope this dashboard offers an important contribution for regional experts, conflict scholars, and those interested in the intersection of climate and security,” said Dr. Joshua Busby, Principal Investigator for the CEPSA program and Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

The dashboard allows users to select and layer any combination of data—including their own through ArcGIS Online—to explore how multiple risks and responses intersect. For example, mapping conflict data over climate vulnerability data can assess how local conflict patterns could exacerbate climate-induced insecurity in an area. Or, mapping climate aid projects over climate vulnerability data can assess if adaptation aid is targeting areas facing the greatest climate risks, as shown below.


The dashboard also allows users to create two maps for a side-by-side comparison of different phenomena, time periods, or datasets. For example, users can compare different conceptualizations of vulnerability (as shown below on the left) or conflict trends over time (as shown below on the right). 


Further, the dashboard’s Country Story feature provides contextual information on climate security challenges and responses in each country, explaining data shown on the map, charting trends, and summarizing CEPSA’s qualitative research on each country. This allows users to assess the spatial, temporal, and contextual dimensions of each issue, and move easily between regional, national, and subnational analysis.

“We are pleased that the dashboard will put mapping tools in the hands of policy makers, so they can use data to invest in improving resilience,” said Jean-Louis Sarbib, CEO of Development Gateway.

By integrating the various lines of CEPSA research, as well as other related datasets, the Complex Emergencies Dashboard aims to provide the most comprehensive view yet of climate and security risks in Asia.

“The Strauss Center is very excited about this next iteration of mapping capabilities. With the high volume of research and data that the CEPSA program produces, this platform is not only innovative, but also user-friendly and easily accessible. The new dashboard is an ideal resource for synthesizing complicated issues of national security importance,’” said Anne Clary, Assistant Director of the Strauss Center.

Prior to the Complex Emergencies Dashboard, the Strauss Center’s Climate Change and African Political Stability (CCAPS) program and Development Gateway produced several data dashboards focused on Africa exploring how climate, conflict, and aid intersect in Africa, earning Esri’s Special Achievements in GIS Award. This Complex Emergencies Dashboard builds upon prior mapping and trends analyses, while enhancing the user experience through new data visualization capabilities, the integration of users’ own data, and the innovative Country Story feature that conveys in-depth contextual information and qualitative research.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Minerva Initiative, the Strauss Center’s program on Complex Emergencies and Political Stability in Asia explores the causes and dynamics of complex emergencies in Asia and options for building government capacity to respond. For more information, please visit

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