Publicación del artículo “Medios ciudadanos y big data: la emergencia del activismo de datos” en la revistaMediaciones


Los big data representan nuevos retos y nuevas oportunidades para la ciudadanía. Las prácticas del “activismo de datos” surgen de la intersección de las dimensiones social y tecnológica de la acción humana, por la cual la ciudadanía adopta una postura crítica hacia los big data, de los que se apropia para hacer campaña y promover el cambio social. Este artículo teórico explora el surgimiento del activismo de datos como una realidad empírica y una herramienta heurística para estudiar cómo la gente se relaciona políticamente con los big data. Ponemos en contexto este concepto a través de una revisión de literatura académica y ofrecemos una definición del activismo de datos, así como una agenda tentativa para su estudio. Argumentamos que el activismo de datos representa una nueva forma de medio ciudadano que coloca en su mismo centro una aproximación crítica hacia los big data.

La revista Mediaciones es una publicación de difusión científica y académica, de periodicidad semestral, editada por la Facultad de Ciencias de la Comunicación de la Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios, Colombia. Se concibe como un espacio de divulgación, reflexión y creación, estructurado en torno a un eje central: la comunicación, comprendida como un campo del conocimiento susceptible de constituirse en objeto de estudio y reflexión, al igual que un medio para abordar otros campos del conocimiento. La revista Mediaciones publica artículos de investigadores en idiomas español, inglés y portugués. Todo texto recibido está circunscrito al campo de la comunicación y en concordancia con alguno de los siguientes lineamientos: Comunicación y desarrollo humano y social; Comunicación y cultura; Prácticas periodísticas, mediáticas y publicitarias; Pensamiento audiovisual; Comunicación estratégica: Comunicación y educación.

He publicado este artículo junto con Stefania Milan, profesora de Nuevos medios y cultura digital de la Universidad de Ámsterdam, Holanda, fundadora del Data J Lab, que se dedica al análisis de los big data, y autora de varios libros sobre los movimientos sociales y sus tecnologías. Sus áreas de interés son las tecnologías y la sociedad, y las posibilidades de emancipación y autonomía que la tecnología digital ofrece a la ciudadanía. Sus investigaciones interdisciplinares emplean la intersección entre el análisis crítico de internet, el estudio de los movimientos sociales, y los estudios sobre ciencia y tecnología.

INTERVIEW: ‘While the rainforest is politically divided, the biome is one’ – Kakabadse

Yolanda Kakabadse – the indefatigable defender of sustainability – is a former Ecuadorian Minister of Environment and the current International President of WWF. Kakabadse also founded CDKN alliance partner Fundacion Futuro Latinamericano, is a member of CDKN’s Network Council and has been involved in the Amazon Security initiative. In this interview with Miren Gutierrez, she explores the challenges facing Amazonian countries in managing this key resource.

You have been reported as saying that people, and more importantly decision-makers, pay more attention to sudden weather-related disasters than to biodiversity loss in Amazonian countries? Is that so? What can be done?

Sudden weather related disasters create a sense of urgency. They usually come along with casualties, people’s losing their housing and livelihoods, damaged infrastructure and many other impacts that affect a society’s dynamic. These events create commotion and the need for immediate government action; there is no discussion about the importance for decision-makers to pay close attention to weather disasters since they are becoming more frequent and intense with climate change. Implementing adaptation plans that reduce their population’s risk and vulnerability is a priority and action is needed now

The need to urgently tackle biodiversity loss is equally important. Yet, this issue seems to be a laggard in the government priority agenda. Most people do not realise the direct relation between biodiversity and our well-being. Biodiversity plays a key role in creating resilient ecosystems and providing vital services such as water, clean air and climate regulation. Additionally, for thousands of years, species have inspired our cultures and helped us build our identity. A world only inhabited by humans is unviable.

The Stockholm Resilience Centre has identified 9 planetary boundaries within which humans can live safely. According to their studies, we have transgressed the biodiversity boundary to such point that we might be entering the sixth extinction phase in the planet. Sadly, humans drive this one. The latest Living Planet Report by WWF affirms that the state of the world’s biodiversity is worse than ever: during the last 40 years vertebrate species have halved. Most of these losses are occurring in the most biodiverse regions in the world. In the Amazon continent, the report showed an 83% loss of the species analyzed. So if you look at scientific evidence, you will see that it is truly dramatic what is happening with biodiversity and the ecosystems on which they depend; this destruction is one of the most important causes of the devastating sudden weather events we are experiencing. Unfortunately, we are still unable to feel the urgency and this inaction will bring irreversible consequences.

CDKN has reported a ‘human security crisis’ caused by climate change and ‘mismanagement of natural resources’ in the Amazon. As habitat destruction trends interact with climate change, the concern is that the Amazon will be caught up in a set of “feedback loops” that could dramatically speed up the pace of forest loss and degradation and bring the Amazon Biome to a point of no return, reports WWF. How are initiatives such as Amazon Security initiative going to contribute to improving the situation?

Climate change is the greatest challenge we will face in this century. Especially, because it will impact health, water, food and energy security and will increase vulnerability and risk for the region’s growing economies and populations. Climate change will transform the Amazon ecosystem. If climate impacts are not managed to avoid getting caught in a set of feedback loops, the transformation will be amplified until there is a point of no return. If we do nothing, climate change will bring devastating consequences and neither the Amazon nor the world will be as we know it. If we avoid this scenario and work together to build a resilient ecosystem, Amazonia can help us adapt better to climate change.                              

A rainforest not only stores carbon, it has a natural ability to regulate and stabilise the climate. Just imagine the power of Amazonia, the largest rainforest on Earth. Protecting the Amazon can protect the climate. In fact, that is precisely what the Amazon Vision seeks: to strengthen the Protected Areas Systems of Amazonia shared by Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela, in order to increase the ecosystem’s resilience to the effects of climate change and to maintain the provision of environmental goods and services benefiting biodiversity, local communities and economies.  The Amazon Security agenda will contribute to tackling climate change since it intends to guarantee water, food, health, energy and of course, climate security throughout the Amazon biome.

What are the concrete obstacles right now to guarantee water security and protection in the Amazon? You have stressed the need to protect and guarantee access to water.

Water is the central and most important resource to guarantee health, energy and food security. A healthy water system is vital for providing clean drinking water, agricultural production and fishery, hydropower generation and regulation of water borne diseases. Water is the nexus that bounds everything. However, agriculture, cattle ranching and energy generation threaten water security through pollution and flow disruption. Hence, all securities are interdependent: If one of them is at risk, probably all of them are.

The Amazon is the largest river system in the world with more than 100.000 km of rivers and streams. The Amazon River on its own discharges an average of 6,300 km3 of water to the Atlantic Ocean annually, nearly 20% of global freshwater that flows into the oceans. Additionally, the rainforest releases 8 trillion tons of water vapor into the atmosphere each year and transports it thousands of kilometers away. Because of that, the Amazon plays a key role regulating the climate system around the continent.

In the midst of abundance, one would think that water security is not an issue but in fact, it is a serious one. Increasingly, water is facing more and more threats. Currently, more than 250 new hydropower dams are planned for the Amazon region. If they all go forward as planned, only three free-flowing tributaries of the Amazon River will remain, compromising the river network and the provision of ecosystem services to the societies and economies in the region. Besides, mining exploitation and pesticides from agriculture pollute the river system with heavy metals and toxins that are ingested by fish and later by humans. Furthermore, increased deforestation and land use changeimpact water availability since the forest recycles nearly 25% of the water it receives. All of these pressures are the main obstacles to guarantee water protection in the Amazon and hence, all other vital securities.

Specifically, how does the initiative recommend responding to extreme droughts that were once unthinkable in this region?

Extreme droughts that were once unthinkable in the region are now more frequent, intense and unpredictable. They are exacerbated by climate change and by the fact that the forest can no longer respond to this phenomenon and regenerate itself in the same way it used to. Future scenarios are less optimistic: it is projected that if warming trends continue, Amazonia will suffer from severe droughts every other year by 2025.

In the last decade the most severe droughts occurred in 2005 and 2010. During the first, 1.9 million km2 of the Brazilian Amazon were affected causing crop losses of 139 million USD, an 18.5% increase in healthcare costs due to more respiratory diseases and other environmental and social losses valued in 100 million USD. During the latter, 3 million km2 of rainforest were severely affected and economic losses were even worse. Forests fires increased dramatically (200% in 2010) accelerating forest degradation and leaving the Amazon even more vulnerable to mitigate the drought.

How to deal with extreme natural phenomenon such as droughts? Not difficult: protect the ecosystem so it can regenerate itself without fatigue. In order to do so, we must halt deforestation. Currently, the Amazon is the biggest deforestation front in the world and interventions are urgently needed to prevent a large-scale, irreversible ecological disaster. WWF estimates that 27 per cent of the Amazon biome will be without trees by 2030 if the current rate of deforestation continues. Without forest cover, droughts will increase and its devastating effects will worsen.

The majority of the Amazonian forest is contained within Brazil (60% of the rainforest), followed by Peru with 13%, Colombia with 10%, and with minor amounts in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Is this variety a political challenge? Is there a good level of cooperation between these countries? Do they share similar concerns or competing demands?                                             

While the rainforest is politically divided, the biome is one. What happens in a country will have an impact in all Amazonia. Therefore, it is a common interest of all Amazonian nations to manage the rainforest sustainably since they have a joint dependence on its natural resources and a joint exposure to regional-scale risks.

We know that water, health, food and energy security are interdependent and that they are all vulnerable to what happens in nine different countries. This seems as a huge challenge. Actually, it is. However, it is also an opportunity to strengthen public policies at a regional level. The atmosphere, rivers, species are indifferent to political boundaries and that is why all nine countries must have a Pan-Amazon vision rather than a narrow country focused one. This means, sharing information to help informed decision making, mapping and monitoring areas where water, energy, food or health security are most vulnerable, creating a regional development agenda, strengthening protected areas systems, having common basin management policies and a joint zero net deforestation target, among others. Only by having a common and coherent agenda they will be able to overcome all the pressures the Amazon is facing and ensure the wellbeing of the region.                                                                              

Climate change acting in combination with biodiversity loss has had social impacts already. One of the conclusions of a report called ‘Amazonia Security Agenda’, published by CDKN and Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano, is that ‘widespread inequity in Amazonia will be exacerbated by threats to the securities, and is likely to lead to increased social conflict unless addressed.’ Is there any plan to address this challenge?

A huge amount of wealth is being produced in the Amazon: oil extraction, mining, agriculture production, cattle ranching and hydropower produce billions of dollars in revenues annually. For instance, in 2012 Brazil received US$8.8 billion a year from iron extraction in the Pará state, Bolivia US$3.8 billion for natural gas and Ecuador US$8.9 billion for oil in 2010. Yet, little of that wealth stays in the Amazon. Ironically, in the land of plenty, local communities suffer from high insecurity. Despite being surrounded by water, few Amazonians have access to a proper water supply, treatment and a basic sanitation infrastructure. Hence, they are particularly vulnerable to pollution and to everything that comes along with it: disease, malnutrition, among others.

According to a report published by A Articulação Regional Amazônica (ARA) 60% of people in the Bolivian Amazon, 37% in Ecuador, 23% in Peru and 17% in Brazil were estimated to be below the extreme poverty line in 2011. Inequity and vulnerability will accentuate if increasing threats to food, health water and energy securities are not properly addressed. Changing this trend without shifting the development paradigm will be impossible. All Amazon countries should adopt policies that secure equal and sustainable access to food, water, energy and land. Indigenous consultation rights should be respected before approving a development project that will impact directly or indirectly their territories. According to the Amazon Environmental Information Network (RAISG), 11% of oil blocks and 18% of mining concessions overlapped recognised indigenous territories in 2012.

If these challenges are not taken serious at a local, national and regional level, land conflicts will increase, inequity will rise and the Amazon ecosystem will have to bear even more pressures affecting everyone who benefits from its services but especially the most vulnerable and poor.

This is a crucial year in the life on this planet: in December we will see the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and the UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda in New York. What do you expect, realistically speaking?

We are witnessing a great and inevitable transition towards a sustainable development model. Indeed, 2015 will be a landmark year in this process. In September, countries will adopt the post-2015 development agenda and thesustainable development goals at the UN Summit. Three months later, Paris will host the Climate Change Conference (COP21) where a new global agreement will be signed. These two historic events will set a roadmap for that great transition.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals will set targets for governments and redirect public policies and investment towards accomplishing them. The same will occur with the new climate agreement. We expect the Paris agreement to set commitments ambitious enough to ensure we stay below 2ºC warming, the temperature limit for a safe climate future. It will send a clear message to all the stakeholders in the world: climate change is a top priority in the world and everyone must do its fair share to address this global problem. Governments must take seriously the path towards a low carbon economy, business must lower their emissions while becoming energy efficient, investors must divest fromfossil fuels and civil society must engage and change their carbon intensive lifestyle. That is what I expect: for everyone to be aware that the world is changing and that we must take part in that inevitable transition.

Visit the website of CDKN’s partner, the Global Canopy Programme, to view films on Amazonia and the climate security agenda, narrated by Yolanda Kakabadse.


Image credit: Rainforest Action Network

FEATURE: The Zambezi – Competing claims and climate change

Climate change is increasing the competition for freshwater resources in the Zambezi River Basin, as CDKN’s Miren Gutierrez reports.

Zambezi river Mags pics for everyone

The Zambezi River Basin is home to about 40 million people who depend on the river for fish, drinking water, agricultural irrigation, electricity production, mining, and other uses. Yet until recently, nobody had thought of examining how these competing uses might be impacted by climate change, and how this could affect some of the most important regional energy investments – hydropower plants on this shared river.

One of the challenges has been putting hydropower production in the river basin management equation, says Randall Spalding-Fecher, Project Research Director of ‘Climate Change and Upstream Development Impacts on New Hydropower Projects in the Zambezi’. This project was funded by CDKN and implemented from 2012 to 2014 by a consortium led by University of Cape Town’s Energy Research Centre, including Centre for Energy Environment Engineering Zambia, University of Zambia, University of Eduardo Mondlane, Pöyry, and OneWorld Sustainable Investments.

“While investment in power supply is catching up, the gap between electricity supply and demand in the region persists”, says Mr. Spalding-Fecher. “There is huge potential for Southern Africa to develop hydropower production as part of increasing supply, which has not kept up with population increases and economic growth. Electrification levels in many countries of the region are still some of the lowest in the world and power shortages frequently impair regional economies.”

“There are many hydropower plants in the pipeline, but the planning for these rarely considers climate change in any meaningful way and often ignores potential increases in upstream demand for other uses. Some of these plans are outdated; their designs were formulated based a historical climate that will be quite unlike the future climate”, he adds. “Although there uncertainties in the absolute magnitude of changes, we know that there is the potential for dramatic changes in rainfall patterns in Southern Africa in the next 30 or 40 years, and these hydropower plants are  expensive, long-term commitments.”

Projected climate change, economic and urban development, and population changes are expected to have sweeping consequences in the Zambezi River Basin. That is why, in 2012, CDKN set out to develop a spatial water allocation model for the Zambezi River Basin that would include hydropower plants and other infrastructure vulnerable to climate change (e.g. irrigation).

The idea was to provide scientifically robust and integrated information and tools to allow policy-makers to make informed choices on how they might respond to the impacts of climate change, and how current development plans might need to change. The objective of this work was to assess how upstream changes in climate and irrigation demand would affect water availability for major downstream hydropower plants. The analysis covered major existing plants (including the Kariba dam, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the Cahora Bassa dam, in Mozambique), extensions to existing plants, and major new plants (such as the Batoka Gorge dam, also on the Zambia–Zimbabwe border).

The analysis showed that some of these new investments are vulnerable to potential drying climate. Some new investments, such as Batoka Gorge, might struggle to produce their target output under either a wetting or drying climate.  For others, the combined effect of climate change and “prioritising irrigation demand in the upstream catchments could compromise hydropower output”, says a policy brief summarising the findings. “Over time, the combined effects of climate change and the competing uses accumulate, and these effects are more pronounced further downstream in the basin”, says Mr. Spalding-Fecher.

A final report looking at the water supply and demand scenarios warns that, ‘while future climate is subject to scientific uncertainty, the impact of irrigation is a policy uncertainty. This both because the level of irrigation investment is driven by political and economic priorities, but also because the priority given to irrigation demand versus hydropower demand for water is a political decision.’

The report offers scenarios testing the impact of different future climates and levels of irrigation development assuming that both hydropower is prioritised over irrigation, and the opposite. The reason for exploring these alternatives is not to arrive at a single ‘right’ answer, but to show the implications of different decisions and possible futures.

During this first phase of the project, CDKN sought to generate buy-in among stakeholders, including the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), and the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM), and SADC Energy, among others.

“But we knew this was not sufficient. This (first) phase looked at individual plants, but not at the entire power system”, says Spalding-Fecher. Phase 2 will address impacts on national and regional electricity grids, by “linking water modelling with a regional electricity model in a way that is sophisticated enough to include robust projections, but user-friendly for decision-makers”. With World Bank’s financial support, Mr. Spalding-Fecher and his team are leading this second phase.

Challenges ahead…

The Zambezi is the fourth-longest river in Africa, and its basin covers about 1.37 million square kilometres across eight countries: Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Transboundary management of these shared water resources has been an ongoing challenge.

“Water management in the basin is especially difficult because countries have multiple and competing interests; inadequate basin-level institutional structures; institutional, legal, economic, and human resource constraints; poor data collection, poor communication; and inadequate training”, say Christine J. Kirchhoff and Jonathan W. Bulkley in a paper published in 2008.

In fact, one of the main challenges, according to Mr. Spalding-Fecher, is coordination. For example, so far the project has had ‘nointeraction’ with the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) –formed in 2002. “There is a long way to go in terms of coordination both across sectors and between different levels of governance (e.g. regional, sub-regional, national, basin/sub-basin)”.

Mr. Spalding-Fecher groups the existing challenges into three categories: institutional, policy-related, and technical.

“More institutional dialogue and communication is needed across sectors and countries. For example, the energy people need to talk to food people, etc.”, he says. “There is some level of dialogue across most sectors, but the energy sector tends to be less connected to any of the others. We need to bridge that gap.” There is the challenge of enabling structures, and bilateral and multilateral agreements, and policy. And there is the need for technical analysis and decision support tools to inform those discussions. Until now, there was some data and modelling available, but “they were not integrated and user-friendly enough to support that work, and were often not in the public domain”.

The solutions need to work across sectors, but also across scales. Mr. Spalding-Fecher mentions one example: “One decision we had to make was whether to look at water use by mining across the entire basin or not. At a local level, it is big issue in the Northern Zambia, where copper is mined. But if you look downstream, the other flows are large enough that mining is unlikely to impact major downstream investments … There is a historic lack of coordination across sectors and across scales. You need to look at how you use regional agreements to facilitate the best choices at national and local levels.”


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FEATURE: Making Central America’s food systems more climate-resilient

Miren Gutierrez investigates how a CDKN-supported project in Central America has produced tools to help communities assess the climate risks to their food supply and to build resilience.  


honduras farmer copyright ciat

A report published by Oxfam in 2014 says that “climate change will strongly affect the production of food and the life conditions of the farming and indigenous families in Central America. The increase in temperatures and the modification of the rainfall cycles will impact the availability of water for the food production and for the populations.”

This summer, the so-called Dry Corridor – a subtropical highland area stretching from Guatemala to Costa Rica — was hit by the most severe drought in more than four decades. “Not a drop of rain has fallen there between July and September. In Guatemala alone, some 300,000 farming families have lost 70-100 percent of their crops. In El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, the production of corn, a staple product, has fallen by over 10%. All in all, an estimated 3 million Central Americans are struggling to feed themselves,” says Jan-Albert Hootsen in a recent report for the World Politics Review.

The accumulated effects of climate change are already clear in this region. Since the 1990s, the coastline has receded about 300 metres inland in Southern Honduras, said Danilo Manzanares, member of the CREFSCA technical team, in a report published by CDKN in May 2013. In Honduras, the biggest loss of terrain happened in 1998, when hurricane Mitch touched land. Today, tides are higher and, if this trend continues, many of the black-sanded beaches of that are will be lost, together with hundreds of houses, according to the same report. Most of the affected areas, about 90%, are fishing communities.

“In Latin America and the Caribbean, in the past decade, more than 15 million people were affected by floods while more than 3 million were affected by extreme droughts and almost 5 million by extreme temperatures. Furthermore, according to the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the increase in the number of people at risk from suffering from famine could concern 5 million people by the year 2020, and reach up to 26 million by the year 2050,” says the Oxfam report.

Central America has contributed very little to climate change, but it already endures some of the most negative consequences. That is where projects such as the Climate Resilience and Food Security in Central America (CREFSCA) come into play.

With CDKN’s support, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) launched the CREFSCA project in January 2013 in ten communities in each of the targeted countries: Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

They found that these communities had some shared “commonalities”, namely, they all have assets and linkages to external systems “that are critical to ensure food security in light of disturbances created by climate change. For example, the importance of storage (including refrigerated storage) and supporting energy systems, and access to markets and food prices which are influenced by national and international policies and processes,” says Alicia Natalia Zamudio, Project Officer of IIED’s Resilience Programme.

Using a systemic approach, “we identified that supporting resources, like water and land, are very important; that the accessibility and management systems of those natural resources were key too. We also realised that the capacities of key actors are crucial,” she says. Finally, governance aspects and local participation in decision making processes made a difference to food security in the three countries.

However, even if there are similarities, local context is also important: “Vulnerability to climate change and the differences in its cascading impacts through food systems can have diverse effects according the different exposure and adaptive capacity of people,” explains Ms Zamudio. “Coastal communities, for example, are much more reliant of fishing than inland communities, which rely more on agriculture. Some coastal communities are very isolated, and depend totally on external markets for other kinds of food. Any change in their access to food markets for example through a disruption in roads or transport systems can seriously affect their food security. The system perspective allowed us to identify these commonalities and differences.”

It is now barely a year since the project has ended, and there is evidence of some changes in the way food systems are managed. The project’s main outputs were two decision-making support tools, in the form of two spin-wheels, designed to enable community members and policy-makers to assess vulnerability and resilience of food systems, develop resilience actions and generate indicators to monitor that resilience over time.The tools were developed and tested through an iterative process grounded in practical field applications.

“Food security is looked upon from a systemic perspective where issues like storage, related infrastructure, and other supporting natural and built-in elements are taken into account. The Spin-wheels (which are the conceptual framework) and CRiSTAL Food Security tool were very useful to identify and understand the impacts chains, how the climate impacts cascade through the food system,”says Ms. Zamudio.

“With this systems conceptual approach, we also produced theFIPAT (Food Security Indicator & Policy Analysis Tool) –she adds—which focuses its analysis on the national and subnational levels, including public policies and their capacity to support resilience.”

During the project, local and regional governments have received capacity-building to use these tools in their context, improving knowledge on climate change and understanding of key concepts. “The communities we worked with were empowered by their better understanding of food security issues. They became more aware of some linkages and answers to questions that were not explicit before,” says Zamudio.

For example, users developed indicators to help them measure their resilience to climate change shocks, such as:

  • Percentage of households with family orchards or gardens, which could determine the level of vegetable consumption and the diversity of the food. “Family gardens help diversity income strategies for women, who are most of the times in charge of the household. We have found, for example, that many households that produce vegetables do not eat them (except, for onions),” says Ms Zamudio.
  • Percentage of households with more than one storage facility or percentage of households with refrigerated storage. This is linked to access to electricity and whether you can refrigerate and cook food. Cooking with electricity, instead of wood or charcoal ovens, can benefit human health by reducing indoor air pollution.
  • Percentage of paved roads, which increases access to food, as unpaved roads are even more vulnerable to climate shocks.

The results of using the tools to analyse climate risks to the food system were used to design policies for the Mancomunidad Montaña El Gigante (Guatemala), a rural community that depends almost exclusively on agriculture.

And now, in Honduras, use of the CRiSTAL Food Security Tool has spread beyond the original communities that were part of the project, because it is being used more widely by NGOs. The tools could soon be incorporated in the university curriculum of the Universidad Autonoma de Honduras (UNAH), too.

Two years down the line, the experts participating in this programme found: “[A] resilient food system is a system that is able to withstand shocks and stresses (including climatic shocks), a system that is ultimately able to deliver food security,” says Ms Zamudio. “Climate variability affects food security directly and indirectly. Climate change can directly disrupt food production and generate crop loses through climatic events, for example. Many other impacts are indirect, though. Climate change can disrupt supporting systems, like roads that take food and people to markets, and thus affect access to food.”

FEATURE: Going smart in Nepalese farming

Generating knowledge that can be integrated in ‘climate-smart’ policy and practice could be one of the keys to Nepal’s future development. Miren Gutierrez of CDKN reports. 

Small, extremely diverse and landlocked, Nepal confronts special development challenges in the face of climate change. Its orography determines that only less than 20% of its land is cultivable, yet about 39% of its GDP and 75% of its exports depend on agriculture, which is also the main source of food, income and employment for the great majority according to a reports published by Cornell and USAid.

“Nepal’s geography is incredibly diverse and complex. Within a short distance, you can see a lot of variety… Climatic conditions range from sub-tropical to Arctic,” says Ram Chandra Khanal, CDKN’s country leader, in a telephone interview. The Climate and Development Knowledge Network supports decision-makers in designing and delivering climate compatible development.

nepal farmer aubergines ccafs

Recently, there has been new evidence of increasing impacts of climate change in the agriculture sector, which, by contagion, can affect the livelihoods of millions. On the other hand, Nepalese farmers have limited access to new technologies and market opportunities.

Climate shocks can derail economic projections easily.  For example, in 2009 growth was, at 4.7%, ‘a bit slower than in the previous year as a result of prolonged winter droughts and delayed monsoons’, says a report published by USAid.  The same report notes that Nepal’s economic performance is ‘heavily dependent on subsistence rain-fed agriculture’, so output is ‘perennially susceptible to exogenous climate shocks —drought, floods, and irregular rainfall.’ USAid ends up saying that this dependence makes growth performance ‘highly erratic’.

Last month, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) projected Nepal’s economy to grow between 4-5% this fiscal year, a lower than first expected and last year, based on the assumptions of two scenarios of agricultural, industrial and service sector growth. According to the ADB ’s Macro-Economic Update on Nepal the country’s economy will grow by 4% if farm production diminishes abruptly and 5% under another scenario where agricultural output deteriorates marginally. (The scenarios take into account different performances in the industrial and service sectors too).

“Delayed and abnormal monsoon rains affected last crops like paddy (semiaquatic rice) and maize leading their output to decline by 5.1% and 6% respectively. The government has projected that winter crops like wheat will be good, but due to a decline in the summer output which contributes heavily to the total agricultural output, the farm sector is expected to rise by just 1.8%,” says a report published by

Rice is not only a staple food here, it is also Nepal’s main crop, and both the economy and the food security depend on rice production, according to another report issued by Hydro Nepal.

“The recent Economic Impact Assessment of climate change study carried out with the support from CDKN also showed that the direct losses of climate change on agriculture are equivalent to around 0.8%/year of current GDP,” reveals Mr Khanal.

That is why climate-smart agriculture is at the centre of Nepal’s strategy to develop.

Climate-smart agriculture is defined as agriculture that integrates the three dimension of sustainable development (economic, social and environmental) by incorporating adaptation and mitigation elements and addressing food security and climate issues at the same time. It promotes production systems that sustainably increase productivity and resilience (adaptation), while reducing Green House Gas emissions (mitigation), and enhancing food security and development.

Climate-smart agriculture is so fashionable nowadays that the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation has set up a dedicated web site, not surprisingly called ‘Climate-smart agriculture’. According to FAO, global food production will have to increase by at least 70% to satisfy the demand of a growing population by 2050. But climate change will to reduce food productivity, or worsen its stability in some areas that already have high levels of food insecurity.

Although there is consensus on the need for climate-smart strategies, “there are still knowledge and gaps at the methodological, policy and financial levels”, says FAO. “These gaps hinder the ability of actors of development (farm smallholders, policy makers and development agencies) to successfully implement climate smart actions.”

That is where projects like CDKN’s come into play.

Explore CDKN’s Nepal country programme on

Watch this space for the second part of this two-part series on climate-smart agriculture in Nepal by Miren Gutierrez.

Image: Nepali farmer, courtesy CCAFS.


“Muchas empresas usan el análisis de datos para ver cómo se comportan sus clientes”

Es, para muchos, la profesión del futuro. Por eso, la Universidad de Deusto ha decidido lanzar en su campus de Donostia un nuevo posgrado para formar a expertos en análisis de datos.

Sábado, 14 de Febrero de 2015 – Actualizado a las 06:09h

Miren Gutierrez, directora del posgrado, posa en el campus donostiarra de la Universidad de Deusto.


“Para inscribirse, o saber más, se puede entrar en la web”

¿Qué es el análisis de datos?

Esta es una pregunta difícil porque análisis de datos puede querer decir muchas cosas. En general, se entiende como un proceso para examinar, limpiar, estandarizar y modificar datos con el fin de poder resaltar información relevante y útil. Incluye también el digerir dicha información, y sacar conclusiones, correlaciones y comparaciones. Estos procesos se pueden utilizar para tomar decisiones, por ejemplo, en una empresa. Está ocurriendo que muchas de ellas se están apoyando cada vez más en el análisis de datos para ver cómo se comportan sus clientes. El gigante Wal-Mart descubrió así que vendía masivamente pop-tarts después de un desastre, como un huracán. Otros están tratando de desarrollar aplicaciones que, interpretando sentimientos en Twitter, puedan predecir los movimientos de las Bolsas. En periodismo se usa para extraer historias enterradas en datos, que de otra forma no se verían. El análisis de datos tiene variados aspectos y orientaciones, comprende diversas técnicas con una diversidad de nombres, en negocios, la investigación, y las ciencias sociales.

¿En qué consiste este nuevo posgrado en Análisis, Investigación y Comunicación de Datos que ofrece la Universidad de Deusto en Donostia?

En Deusto, hemos visto el nicho de los datos como una oportunidad de posicionarnos en una profesión que, según vaticinan muchos, es la profesión del futuro, y todavía no hay mucha oferta de formación. Sin embargo, según el centro de investigación tecnológica Gartner, en 2015 van a ser necesarios globalmente 4,4 millones de personas formadas en el campo del análisis de datos y su explotación. Roberto Rigobon, profesor del Centro Sloan de Administración de Empresas del MIT, dice que no existe una carrera universitaria de análisis de datos todavía y que quien se dedique a esto tiene que saber un poco de ingeniería, derecho, sociología, psicología, economía, y yo añadiría de periodismo y de comunicación, porque luego ese análisis hay que saber transmitirlo se trabaje en el ámbito que se trabaje. Por eso, hemos querido que sea muy multidisciplinar e innovador. En vez de preguntarnos qué puede ofrecer tal o cual facultad, hemos pensando qué necesitaría un profesional para moverse en este nuevo sector, y hemos ido a buscar a los y las mejores en varias facultades y de varias disciplinas, tanto dentro de la universidad como fuera.

¿A quién va dirigido?

A cualquier que tenga algo que ver con la transmisión de datos, ya sea para consumo interno como para hacerlos públicos. Es decir, cualquier titulado o titulada superior, así como profesiones de la comunicación, la administración pública, el sector privado, las ONG o centros de investigación y think tanks que deseen explotar las oportunidades que ofrecen los datos y los instrumentos que existen para analizarlos y comunicarlos.

¿Qué salidas profesionales tiene?

En Deusto pensamos que en el futuro muchas empresas, organizaciones y entidades tendrán analistas trabajando codo a codo con el resto. Las capacidades para discriminar, tratar, interpretar y comunicar datos son clave y tienen ya cabida en medios de comunicación, gabinetes de prensa, administraciones públicas, unidades de análisis de datos en empresas, centros de investigación y think tanks, organizaciones no gubernamentales, centros tecnológicos, consultorías estratégicas, centros de innovación y organizaciones para la promoción social.

Explique cómo se organiza el curso: las asignaturas, el método de estudio, las clases, etc.

Las clases se han adaptado totalmente a las exigencias de profesionales que deben compaginar el trabajo con el estudio y la preparación, en régimen de viernes tarde y sábado mañana. Los y las participantes no van a clase a obtener conocimientos sólo, sino a debatirlos y ponerlos a prueba en la práctica. Las asignaturas incluyen periodismo de datos, transparencia y derecho a saber, marco legal, ético y conceptual del análisis de datos, modelos de negocio, innovación y aprendizaje, herramientas para el análisis, investigación, comunicación y visualización de datos. Otro de los atractivos del Programa es nuestra alianza con el MediaLab-Prado, un centro de referencia para la cultura del dato, de quien tomamos la metodología para realizar el proyecto que cada participante desarrollará con ayuda de nuestros profesores y profesoras. Los y las participantes podrán traer un proyecto de sus empresas u organizaciones debajo del brazo para poder desarrollarlo durante el curso, y éste se presentará en el marco del MediaLab-Prado.

¿Quién imparte el posgrado?

Entre los profesores y profesoras tenemos a varios doctores del prestigioso instituto de tecnología DeustoTech, y expertos y expertas en derecho de las tecnologías de la comunicación, contenidos digitales, transparencia y open data, periodismo, análisis y visualización de datos, etc. Hemos reunido a personas de la talla de Mar Cabra, del Consorcio Internacional de Periodistas de Investigación (que ha coordinado la investigación de la Lista Falciani); Alberto Cairo, ganador de prestigiosos premios de visualización de datos y actualmente en la Universidad de Miami; Alberto Ortiz de Zarate, conocido experto en open data; Nagore de los Ríos, otra experta de referencia en asuntos de transparencia, por citar a unos cuantos.

¿Cómo surgió la idea de crear un posgrado como este?

Surgió de una reflexión para adaptarse a los tiempos que corren y para ofrecer programas que brinden una preparación para el futuro desde la base de la reputación y el trabajo realizado hasta la fecha por la universidad de Deusto.

¿Cómo cree que puede beneficiar a un profesional realizar este posgrado?

Además de las habilidades que adquirirán, de las que he hablado antes, podrá también formar parte de una red de personas (en nuestro entorno, pioneras) que trabajan con datos, tanto los y las docentes como compañeros y compañeras de clase. Asimismo, como he apuntado antes, animamos a los y las participantes a que se acerquen con un proyecto debajo del brazo. Durante tres meses, tendrán la oportunidad de apoyarse en expertos y expertas que les podrán ayudar a ponerlo en pie.

¿Qué hay que hacer para inscribirse? ¿Cómo es el proceso de admisión?

Estamos ya sobre las fechas, pero es muy sencillo. Simplemente hay que o bien entrar en la web del programa ( y solicitar la admisión o bien directamente llamarme a mí o a la Secretaría del Programa, cuya información también está incluida en la página web.

Equipo docente de Programa Experto en Datos de Deusto

El equipo docente del Programa Experto está integrado por destacados/as profesores/as pertenecientes a universidades, centros de investigación, e instituciones públicas y privadas de referencia de todos los ámbitos relacionados con los datos: derecho de las TIC, periodismo, tecnología y desarrollo, visualización, formatos, gobernanza, emprendizaje y gestión, y activismo de datos.

Ocultar la información

  Aje Arruti Aje Arruti, periodista por vocación y formación, después de desarrollar su carrera profesional en medios impresos como el diario Expansión o las revistas MacUser y Quo, se ha dedicado a la educación universitaria, a la enseñanza de técnicas de organización, productividad personal y creatividad, y a la comunicación. Experta en contenidos para plataformas móviles. Licenciada en Ciencias de la Información por la Universidad de Navarra y Diploma de Estudios Avanzados por las universidades Pontificia de Salamanca y de Navarra.
  Aitor Almeida Aitor Almeidaes Doctor en Ingeniería y trabaja como investigador en el grupo de investigación MoreLab de DeustoTech. Aitor ha participado en diversos proyectos europeos y estatales relacionados con las áreas de ambient intelligence (AmI), análisis de datos y web semántica. Sus intereses incluyen el análisis de las redes sociales, la minería de datos, la computación ubicua (pervasive computing), los objetos inteligentes y la web semántica. Sus proyectos y publicaciones se pueden consultar en su página personal.
Alberto Cairo Alberto Cairo es una estrella mundial de la visualización de datos. Es profesor de la Universidad de Miami y Director del Programa de Visualización de su Centro de Ciencia Computacional desde 2012. Alberto ha ganado premios como director de infografía de El Mundo (2000-2005) y ha ocupado el mismo cargo en la Editora Globo (Brasil, 2010-2011). Ha publicado ‘El arte funcional’ (2012), una completa guía sobre gráficos informativos y su aplicación en el periodismo. En 2013, Alberto creó el primer curso masivo y abierto de periodismo, ofrecido por el Knight Center de la Universidad de Texas, que atrajo a 14.000 estudiantes de 100 países.
  Alberto Ortiz de Zarate
Alberto Ortiz de Zarate
es experto en apertura de datos públicos y en las políticas de gobierno abierto. Veterano de la atención ciudadana multicanal. Se autodenomina especialista en CAMBIO, con mayúsculas. Especialista en el CAMBIO, con mayúsculas. Fundador de, plataforma desde la que ejerce de profesional in(ter)dependiente. Veterano de la atención ciudadana multicanal. Escritor, docente y conferenciante. Ha sido cargo público, funcionario y consultor; ahora pone su experiencia al servicio de proyectos que mejoren la vida de las personas.
  Aritz Bilbao
Aritz Bilbao Jayo
es investigador en el grupo DeustoTech-Internet y con experiencia en la visualización y realización de aplicaciones con datos abiertos. Ha sido finalista en la primera edición de los premios Cloud Blibao con su proyecto fin de grado con una aplicación denominada XploreBilbao para la visualización de eventos en la ciudad y actualmente trabaja en proyectos relacionados con redes sociales para promocionar y mejorar la actividad de las personas.
  Asier Murciego Asier Murciego es jefe de IT de Orkestra, Instituto Vasco de Competitividad. Ingeniero Superior en Telecomunicaciones por la Escuela Superior de Ingenieros de Bilbao, ha trabajado como Director Técnico de Captiva Soluciones y Seguridad, y es experto en análisis de redes.
  Guillermo Dorronsoro
Guillermo Dorronsoro
es el vicepresidente ejecutivo de la alianza tecnológica IK4 (Alianza Centros Tecnológicos País Vasco) y Decano de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales de la Universidad de Deusto. Es un experto en innovación y cambio a través de las personas. Guillermo es Doctor Ingeniero Industrial por la Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales y de Telecomunicaciones (ETSIIT) de Bilbao, Máster en Ordenación de Territorio y Urbanismo por la Universidad Politécnica de Valencia y Alumno Miembro de la Fundación Altuna para Estudios Avanzados de Innovación.
Jorge Campanillas Jorge Campanillas es abogado especialista en derecho de las tecnologías de la información y las comunicaciones. Jorge es miembro fundador de Iurismatica, un bufete de abogados especializado en derecho de las nuevas tecnologías, miembro de ENATIC (Asociación de Expertos Nacionales de la Abogacía TIC), y experto en telecomunicaciones, propiedad intelectual, propiedad industrial, protección y reutilización de datos. Iurismática trabaja para resolver los retos que plantea la tecnología e internet sin olvidar la vertiente social.
  Angel Achon
José Angel Achón Insausti
es Doctor en Historia por la Universidad de Deusto y se ha especializado en historia de las ideas, del pensamiento y de los movimientos sociales y políticos, y en el discurso político e identidad colectiva en la formación de la modernidad. Josean es un experto en el análisis de transformaciones sociales, y aporta al programa su visión sobre cómo la tecnología y los datos están transformando la sociedad.
  JJ Gibaja
Juan José Gibaja
es Doctor en Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales por la Universidad de Deusto, Máster Universitario en Matemáticas Avanzadas por la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, y Máster en Aprendizaje Estadístico y Data Mining por la Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia. Juan José es experto en técnicas de estadística multivariante y en métodos avanzados de estadística aplicada, y además de impartir clases de grado y postgrado, es profesor del programa de doctorado Desarrollo Económico y Competitividad.
  Juan Luis Sánchez Juan Luis Sánchez es periodista especializado en contenidos digitales y nuevos medios. Es subdirector y cofundador de Impulsor de publicaciones como Desalambre, especializada en derechos humanos y cofundador del medio digital Periodismo Humano (y su editor hasta enero de 2012). Su cobertura de la eclosión del “movimiento 15M” en España fue publicada y referenciada en medios como El País, Cadena SER, La Sexta, 20minutos, Público,, Foreign Policy, The New York Times o The Washington Post. Es un habitual de Al Rojo Vivo. Es también coautor de Remapping Europe, Actúa y Paradigmátic@s.
  Juan Sixto Cesteros
Juan Sixto Cesteros
es Ingeniero en Informática por la Universidad de Deusto. Cursó el máster de Desarrollo e Integración de Soluciones Software y se encuentra realizando el doctorado en el área del Procesamiento del lenguaje natural, minería de datos y análisis de sentimientos aplicada a las redes sociales. Actualmente trabaja en proyectos centrados en modelos de comportamiento social y estudio de las dinámicas complejas y su relación con los eventos sociales. Juan forma parte del equipo de investigación de DeustoTech.
  Mar Cabra
Mar Cabra
es quizás la periodista de investigación más conocida de España. Directora de la Fundación Ciudadana Civio, que utiliza datos para apoyar una mayor transparencia y mejor gobernanza con aplicaciones como y Ha sido reportera en CNN+, laSexta Noticias y El Nuevo Herald, y su trabajo se ha publicado en medios como The International Herald Tribune, Le Monde, PBS o El País. Su pasión por el periodismo de datos y la transparencia le han llevado a admitir que el BOE es su lectura preferida y el Excel su más querido animal de compañía.
Mikel Madina Mikel Madina es licenciado en Filología Vasca por la Universidad de Deusto. Profesor en la Facultad de Humanidades de la Universidad de Deusto desde 1997 hasta 2008, encargado de varias asignaturas relacionadas con las tecnologías de la información y su uso comunicativo. Desde el curso 2008 imparte un módulo transversal sobre comunicación web en el Máster EiTB-Deusto en gestión de la comunicación audiovisual, empresarial e institucional. También ha sido arquitecto de información en Arista Interactiva.
  Miren Gutierrez
Miren Gutiérrez
es la Directora del Programa. Corresponsal de la agencia EFE para el Sudeste Asiático, Corea y el Pacifico (Hong Kong, 1990-1996); editora y periodista de investigación financiera en Panamá (1996-2001); colaboradora de El País, Transparencia Internacional y The Media Loan Fund (Nueva York, 2001-2002); Editor-in-Chief de la agencia de noticias internacional Inter Press Service (Roma, 2003-2009), se pasó al activismo para trabajar con MarViva (Mallorca, 2010), como Directora Ejecutiva de Greenpeace España (Madrid, 2011), y para Index on Censorship y el Overseas Development Institute (Londres, 2012-2014). Cubrió el ataque a las Torres Gemelas para El País y a las ha escrito para El Mundo, The Wall Street Journal y The Nation, entre otros.
Nagore de los Ríos Nagore de los Ríos experta en transparencia, el derecho a saber, gobierno abierto y apertura de datos. Nagore fue directora de gobierno abierto del Gobierno Vasco – Irekia—, que diseñó, lanzó y gestionó sobre la base de tres principios: la transparencia, la participación y la colaboración. Desde entonces, Nagore se ha convertido en una experta mundialmente reconocida y ha ayudado a otras administraciones a implementar estos principios y a reusar el código desarrollado para Irekia.
Oscar Peña Oscar Peña del Rio es Ingeniero en Informática por la Universidad de Deusto. Cursó el Máster de Desarrollo e Integración de Soluciones Software y se encuentra realizando el doctorado en el área de la visualización automática de datos anotados semánticamente. Participa activamente en hackathones locales de Open Data tratando de mejorar el entendimiento de los datos por parte de los usuarios mediante las representaciones visuales.
  Unai Aguilera
Unai Aguilera
es Doctor en Ciencia de la Computación e investigador en el grupo MoreLab de DeustoTech. Participa en diferentes proyectos tanto nacionales como europeos relacionados con la provisión de servicios basados en datos abiertos proporcionados por la administración pública. También trabaja en aspectos relacionados con la visualización de datos enlazados, los entornos inteligentes y las redes móviles ad hoc. Su historial de publicaciones y proyectos puede consultarse en su página personal.

FEATURE: Adapting to flood and fire in Quito, Ecuador

Quito faces great challenges in adapting to climate change. How is the highest capital city in the world faring? After about five years of implementation, the Quito Strategy for Climate Change is starting to pay some dividends, reports Miren Gutierrez of CDKN.

Cities everywhere are facing new weather patterns, making adaptation strategies at city-level ever more important. Adaption challenges in Quito are demanding: With a population of 2.24 million (expected to double by 2025) and located at 2,800 meters above sea-level, Quito’s streets are steep and disrupted by ravines. Regular floods, earthquakes and landslides produce widespread damage, mainly in informal settlements on hillsides.

Quito’s adaptive challenges include the integration of standardised criteria in development planning as well, says Nixon Narvaez, from the Secretariat of Environment. For example, Quito needs to implement consistent adaptation measures in potato farming, he adds in an email interview. Potato is a staple food in Ecuador, and ranks the first among tubers in people’s preferences in Quito, according to a report published by INIAP-CIP.

At a different level, “a bigger challenge is to share agendas with different actors: local governments, communities, city bureaux (such as CONQUITO –in charge of local development— or Quitoturismo), companies providing services (water, public works, mobility, transport), trade unions, and civil society, including activists, NGOs and academia, to generate more openness in the implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures, and to reinforce governance.

Experts agree that commitment to these strategies at all levels, from local to national and international, is key.

“When climate adaptation is advanced with a focus on learning, awareness, and capacity building, the process will likely lead to more sustained, legitimate, and comprehensive adaptation plans and policies that enhance the resilience of the most affected urban areas and residents,” says a paper about the variation in adaptation approaches in Quito and two other cities in India and South Africa, issued by the academic publishing house Elsevier.

The paper notes that “no national laws or policies, international frameworks, or national funding schemes initially existed to guide and support Quito’s efforts to prepare for the impacts of climate change”, until pressing concerns in the mid-1990s moved the City Council and the Metropolitan Sewage and Drinking Water Authority “to start making provisions to secure the city’s water supply”.

Its authors also say that an inter-institutional process to come up with a Quito Climate Strategy in 2007 revealed that it ‘would not be a straightforward task,’ that current climate adaptation measures were considered to be ‘patching’ specific problems, and that a long term vision was lacking.

Then the idea of ‘risk’ was incorporated in the process. And the Quito Strategy for Climate Change (EQCC) was approved in October 2009. It has since become an official environmental policy. By mid-2010, discussions about CDKN support were well underway. Following a joint analysis, CDKN and the Secretariat of Environment agreed on three areas for initial collaboration: an Action Plan, a vulnerability study and implementing the Action Plan.

CDKN provided technical assistance on methodology and workshops to prepare a five-year Action Plan, which contained a portfolio of about 50 projects, of which 21 ideas were granted priority. This required a vulnerability study to consolidate information that was scattered. A ‘Climate and Vulnerability’ workshop held in May 2011 provided a basis for discussions among academic, scientific, technical and political sectors to define guidelines to guide the work of an interdisciplinary team for a 9-month vulnerability study. The International Centre for Research on the El Niño Phenomenon (CIIFEN) prepared the terms in July 2011.

CDKN Alliance partners Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano began this work in June 2011. Recently, Quito hosted the National Summit of Local Authorities at which 80 other participating cities signed the Quito Climate Pact, a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at the local level.

CDKN is currently helping Quito with the calculation of its water and carbon footprint, the vulnerability of the municipality’s (DMQ’s)  health sector: vector borne diseases, and a pilot adaptation measure. Other organisations that support the implementation of adaptation measures in Quito include the Inter-American Development Bank (AIDB), the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

There is room for improvement, though. “In spite of the big efforts to development integration mechanisms around adaptation, we haven’t been able to achieve optimum coordination at local or municipal level, because of the scale, scope, and environmental, economic, social, cultural and institutional diversity involved,” says Narvaez. He points out that some mitigation initiatives were easier to implement, including, for example, the “strengthening of public transport or the increase of energy efficiency with LED street lights.”

But some of these efforts are already paying dividends. According to Narvaez, the Secretariat, the City Council and the public companies providing municipal services have started forming a common agenda. “The Secretariat of Environment has generated a set of sustainability indicators that allowed us to evaluate sectors such as waste management, water provision, mobility, sanitation, energy, and air quality and pollution. EQCC’s performance has been assessed as ‘medium’ with a potential to improve in rural areas and to stabilise in urban areas.”

“Among the steps toward progress we include improvements in the management of wild fires (another important hazard) and floods, in which more than 20 institutions participate,” adds Narvaez. “The Secretariat of Environment has generated information and knowledge for decisions related to both prevention and response too, resulting in more efficiency in reducing vulnerability.”
Image: Quito panorama, courtesty Quito tourism office (

Jornada ‘Comunicación y datos: El futuro ya está aquí’

Las administraciones públicas y las grandes corporaciones tienen la capacidad de recabar y acopiar, así como también de divulgar, big data. Utilizando esta información, incluso generando sus propios datos, individuos y organizaciones han producido miles de aplicaciones, están mejorando la vida de la ciudadanía y generando mayor transparencia y participación en todo el mundo. Sin embargo, todavía no es muy común encontrar ejemplos de uso de datos en nuestro entorno.

Un grupo de periodistas, programadores, desarrolladores, visualizadores, y profesionales y estudiantes se reunió esta semana durante la Jornada ‘Comunicación y datos: El futuro ya está aquí’ para discutir sobre los retos que hoy por hoy existen para, entre otras cosas, hacer periodismo de datos, o simplemente para aprovechar el fenómeno de los big data. Asimismo, discutieron interesantes aplicaciones que ya existen y que podrían servir de ejemplo.

Durante la discusión, quedó claro que el primer obstáculo con el que nos encontramos para explotar datos es el nivel de apertura de las administraciones. Una periodista se quejó de la poca receptividad que hay en la administración pública cuando se solicitan datos, especialmente si son datos delicados. El experto en apertura de datos Alberto Ortiz de Zarate habló de las posibilidades reales que las administraciones ofrecen y de la política de reutilización de la información pública.

Guillermo Gutiérrez, de Bunt Planet, y David González, de, hablaron de su experiencia trabajando con datos en el sector privado, el primero, y en la visualización de datos, el segundo.

Aprovecharemos la ocasión para presentar el programa universitario Experto en Análisis, Investigación y Comunicación de Datos, impartido por profesores y profesoras de la talla de Alberto CairoMar Cabra, Alberto Ortiz de Zarate, Nagore de los Ríos y Juan Luis Sánchez. Pretendemos crear un espacio de encuentro y debate donde periodistas, programadores, desarrolladores, visualizadores y todos aquellos profesionales interesados en esta nueva disciplina de los sectores público y privado y de las ONG puedan generar sinergias y obtener así mejores resultados en su trabajo.

Ganadores y perdedores de los fondos para el clima

Ganadores y perdedores de los fondos para el clima

Por Miren Gutiérrez / Lima (Perú).-  México y Marruecos son los grandes ganadores de los fondos para el clima. Sin embargo, muchos países en desarrollo quedan atrás en la financiación internacional de los nueve fondos climáticos destinados a apoyar proyectos para ayudarles a adaptarse al cambio climático y reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero.

En la foto Miren Gutiérrez, Directora de Comunicación del Programa para el Clima y el Medioambiente de ODI.; Smita Nakhooda, autora principal del informe y experta en fondos para el clima de ODI, y Tom Mitchell, director del Programa para el Clima y el Medioambiente de ODI.
Crédito: Alfonso Daniels

Un nuevo índice mundial publicado por el Overseas Development Institute (ODI) –el mayor think tank en temas de desarrollo del Reino Unido — revela también que la mitad de los $ 7.340 millones aprobados hasta la fecha se concentra en sólo diez países.

A pesar de ello, estos nueve fondos multilaterales –creados a través del mecanismo de Naciones Unidas para canalizar recursos hacia los países en desarrollo— son considerados por ODI ‘fundamentales’ en la lucha contra el cambio climático.

El informe –que revisa diez años de historia de los fondos— revela que Reino Unido y Estados Unidos son los mayores donantes, mientras que los principales receptores son Marruecos, México y Brasil, países donde las emisiones están creciendo rápidamente. Según el informe, los Fondos para el Clima están ayudando a desarrollar el sector de la energía solar en Marruecos, a ampliar la escala de la utilización de la energía eólica en México, y a reducir la deforestación en Brasil.

‘La cuestión es si estamos optimizando el poco dinero disponible. Nuestro informe dice que hay muchos ejemplos de buenas prácticas, pero los fondos tienen que ser mas innovativos, deben tener formas más estandarizadas para medir sus impactos y deben incorporar también las dinámicas de la política local’, dijo Smita Nakhooda, autora principal del informe, en un encuentro con periodistas durante la Cumbre del Clima en Lima, Perú.

Entre las recomendaciones, Nakhooda mencionó que hace falta, entre otras cosas:

  1. Más valentía para financiar proyectos por los que no apuesta el sector privado debido a que se perciben como arriesgados. Esto implicaría, por ejemplo, entrar en países con un riesgo soberano alto u otorgar créditos en monedas locales, con más riesgo asociado.
  2. Un enfoque más innovador, más apoyo a la investigación y a la innovación tecnológica, y más capital semilla a las ‘buenas ideas’.
  3. Usar el tipo adecuado de financiación en cada caso a fin de incentivar la inversión al costo más bajo. Se necesita más financiación ‘inteligente’, que maximice los impactos.
  4. Más apoyo a las entidades locales y naciones, a la regulación adecuada y la capacidad institucional. Y generar incentivos adecuados en economías emergentes.

‘Una de las lecciones que hemos aprendido de países como México,  Marruecos o Brasil –dijo Nakhooda—es que el liderazgo adecuado y el hacer de la respuesta al cambio climático una prioridad nacional son factores esenciales en el acceso a estos fondos. Si hay un compromiso nacional, el dinero llega’.