BETTER supports WFP Challenges for precise Humanitarian Assistance

Natural hazards and conflicts are the primary drivers of humanitarian assistance requirements for the World Food Programme. Real time, accurate information on the extent and severity of the impact of natural hazards is a fundamental input to response planning. Particularly, analysis of land cover changes has received increasing attention, and can be exploited to detect conflict impacts on cropland extent and infrastructure. Earth Observation (EO) data can thus provide invaluable information for WFP’s drive towards resilience-enhancing community asset building.  However, this data must be accessed in a timely manner for efficient extraction of relevant information.


desert-279862-1280-50h-700px.jpg The first 3 BETTER challenges proposed by WFP will enable its staff to have speedier access to:

  • Sentinel 1 and 2 data.
  • Medium resolution, high frequency data streams from Copernicus Land, Atmosphere and Climate Change Services.

High-resolution Sentinel data will be used in hot-spot mode to provide fine scale assessments of conditions on the ground and the extent and nature of areas affected. Sentinel data enable assessment of changes in cropland extent in conflict situations, both in terms of losses and recovery in agricultural livelihoods following conflict resolution. Medium resolution data streams provide multi-temporal wide area coverage of drought events and of conditions likely to lead to significant flood events.  Both kinds of data is useful in ground assessments by in-country WFP staff and by higher-level assessments such as WFP/FAO Crop and Food Security Assessment Missions (CFSAMs).

In addition to emergency responses, WFP programmes address interventions to enhance the resilience of communities and an increase in their assets (building of dams, restoration of irrigation capacity, afforestation, etc.). WFP has an interest to monitor asset development and to assess the outcomes (e.g. increase in irrigated community agriculture). To this end, Sentinel 2 data enables land cover monitoring and continued assessment of the long-term impacts of WFP asset building initiatives.

The 3 related pipelines are already under development and expected to become operational in the last quarter of 2018, a time when a potential El Niño may provide a demanding testing ground for the pipelines and their downstream applications. Primary users of these pipelines will be WFP staff. However, derived information will serve a much wider humanitarian community and a number of government institutions in countries where WFP works; whose exposure to EO-derived outputs may transform them into future primary pipeline users.

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