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UNICEF

Danger in the Air: UNICEF

Blue Raster collaborated with The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to help produce Danger in the Air: How air pollution can affect brain development in young children. Leveraging the analysis pioneered during a recent study with UNICEF regarding air pollution, Blue Raster and UNICEF used satellite imagery of outdoor air pollution in combination with global demographic data to determine that 17 million babies under the age of 1 breathe toxic air, with the majority living in South Asia. The report also highlights why young children are the most vulnerable to the impact of air pollution.

Air pollution is a critical health issue to people all over the world. Children are especially vulnerable to air pollution due to their physiology: their lungs are still developing, and exposure to harmful air during this critical period can be especially detrimental, causing life-threatening diseases. A growing number of studies are even pointing to the impacts of air pollution on a cognitive development. They note that breathing in particulate air pollution can damage brain tissue and undermine cognitive development – with lifelong implications and setbacks.

UNICEF has made its mission protecting and empowering children around the world. With Blue Raster’s help, UNICEF identified the youngest children who are most vulnerable to the dangers of air pollution, and promotes a greater understanding of this issue among governments, communities, and families. Further geospatial analysis can help us identify trends, pinpoint sources of pollution, and create plans for reducing pollution in the future.

“Not only do pollutants harm babies’ developing lungs – they can permanently damage their developing brains – and, thus, their futures. Protecting children from air pollution not only benefits children. It is also benefits their societies – realized in reduced health care costs, increased productivity and a safer, cleaner environment for everyone.”

Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director 

Thirsting for a Future: UNICEF

Blue Raster collaborated with The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to help produce Thirsting for a Future: Water and children in a changing climate. In a targeted study of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene using current climate and projected climate conditions, Blue Raster and UNICEF determined that by 2040, nearly 600 million children are projected to be living in areas of extremely high water stress. The report also highlights that increasing droughts and floods threaten quality and quantity of water.

As UNICEF puts it best: “No one suffers more from a change in climate than a child. Their small bodies are vulnerable to the changes in the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat. For many children, a change in climate is felt through a change in water. In times of drought or flood, in areas where the sea level has risen or ice and snow have unseasonably melted, children are at risk, as the quality and quantity of water available to them is under threat. When disasters strike, they destroy or disrupt the water and sanitation services that children rely on.”

Blue Raster has (once again!) done an incredible job helping to conduct the analysis for this report. Their professionalism and technical sophistication continues to exceed expectations. In the face of incredible challenges now and in the decades to come, Blue Raster has helped us make the case for protecting children’s access to safe water and sanitation.

— Nicholas Rees, Policy Analysis Specialist, UNICEF New York

With Blue Raster’s help, UNICEF identified the children who are most vulnerable to the dangers of flooding and water stress. Geospatial analysis using ArcGIS Desktop helped to inform plans to mitigate current and future risk to children.

Clear the Air for Children: UNICEF

Blue Raster collaborated with The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to help produce Clear the Air for Children: The impact of air pollution on children. In the first analysis of its kind, Blue Raster and UNICEF used satellite imagery of outdoor air pollution in combination with global demographic data to determine that 300 million children currently live in areas with toxic levels of pollution, and 2 billion live in areas where pollution levels exceed international standards. The report also highlights that many of the poorest children were especially at risk because they have little or no access to resources for treatment and protection.

Air pollution is a critical health issue to people all over the world. Children are especially vulnerable to air pollution due to their physiology: their lungs are still developing, and exposure to harmful air during this critical period can be especially detrimental, causing life-threatening diseases. A growing number of studies are even pointing to the impacts of air pollution on a cognitive development.

UNICEF has made its mission protecting and empowering children around the world. With Blue Raster’s help, UNICEF identifies the children who are most vulnerable to the dangers of air pollution and promotes a greater understanding of this issue among governments, communities, and families. Further geospatial analysis through ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Online can help us pinpoint sources of pollution and create plans for reducing pollution in the future.

“With thanks to Blue Raster, we were able to do in-depth analysis to determine how many children live in areas with high levels of air pollution. Blue Raster brought professionalism and very strong technical expertise to the project, helping us to do groundbreaking work that we hope will serve as a strong base for action on air pollution – this is not just a major threat to the environment, it is also a major threat to children’s health.”

Nicholas Rees, Policy Analysis Specialist, UNICEF New York

Unless We Act Now: UNICEF

Unless We Act Now ReportBlue Raster is proud to announce a collaboration with The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to contribute to Unless We Act Now: The Impact of Climate Change on Children – a report published by UNICEF at the annual Conference of Parties (COP21), also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. COP21 is a renowned conference that brings together international voices representing government and UN Agencies, NGOs and civil society to assess climate change and set universal agreements and goals for reducing climate change and adapting to the changes that have already begun.

The Unless We Act Now report leveraged geospatial analysis of current demographic, environmental and projected climate data, in order to direct aid to child populations across the world as they face unforgiving changing weather patterns.

UNICEF has made putting children first their mission, and although climate change is an imminent threat to populations across the world, it is children who are hit the hardest as their bodies are most vulnerable to change. Being able to understand where these 2.3 billion children are was the first step, but taking this further to understand how environmental conditions such as droughts, floods, and extreme heat effect food and water supply, sanitation, and the spread of disease is made possible through GIS analysis via ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Online.

Climate Change affects children in unique ways — these maps show where Children and Climate Change intersect.

unicefMap1COP21 is a fantastic opportunity for UNICEF to present our “Unless We Act Now: The Impacts of Climate Change on Children” report, as climate change will be of critical importance when protecting and preserving the future livelihood of children around the world. Blue Raster was with us every step of the way during the data analysis and cartographic development, and their timely responses, adaptive and analytical methods, and personal connections to spatial data subject matter experts working around the world helped make this project a resounding success.

Nicholas Rees, Policy Analysis Specialist, UNICEF New York

A map poster featuring the analytical and cartographic work was then featured at the 2016 Esri User Conference and won the ICA and IMIA Excellence in Cartography award, and was selected for publication in 2017 Esri Map Book, Volume 32.

“The Impact of Climate Change on Children by UNICEF was recognized by the judges for it’s powerful, stark design on a relevant, topical subject. This work delivered a high impact, strong message with clarity and effective simplicity.”

Esri Insider, July 14, 2016

A special thanks to:
Trevor Croft, DHS Program   |   Paul Reig and Tianyi Luo, World Resources Institute   |   Carmelle Terborgh, Esri
Deborah-Balk, The City University of New York   |   Susana Adamo and Kytt MacManus, CIESIN Columbia University

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