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SAS Helps the Fund for Peace Reduce Effects of Conflicts Through Resilience Insights

Data and simulations provide a foundation for developing effective programs to mitigate violence and cultivate sustainable peace

With more than 100 million people displaced due to conflict and violence and an estimated 313.5 million people needing humanitarian assistance and protection, finding solutions to help reduce violent conflict and country fragility is critical. Analytics leader SAS is working with The Fund for Peace (FFP) to identify areas of opportunity for a country to improve preparedness in response to certain crisis and shock scenarios with a new Crisis Sensitivity Simulator tool. With this insight, policymakers can identify opportunities to increase countries’ resiliency so they can lessen the intensity and effects of a potential crisis and recover more quickly.

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FFP has been the go-to source for governments and organizations to help identify and quantify help needed for fragile states through its Fragile States Index (FSI) which has assessed the risks and vulnerabilities faced by 179 countries since 2006. Building on that success, the organization is launching a new State Resilience Index (SRI) to gauge how a country can anticipate, manage, and recover from a crisis relative to the severity of that situation. With the Crisis Sensitivity Simulator, SAS helps FFP analyze a country’s sensitivity to varying degrees of shock based on its capacities (SRI) and pressures (FSI). SAS takes the data and uses risk models to determine which crisis combinations will be the most destabilizing for each country, through various potential scenarios. This allows decision-makers to better prepare for a perfect storm.

“The pandemic proved that even the most developed countries are not immune to disruptions with the right combination of conditions present,” said I-Sah Hsieh, SAS Data for Good Program Manager. “This project will help states simulate multiple conditions and become more resilient.”

Understanding the importance of resiliency
FFP’s approach is to empower local, national, and regional stakeholders in conflict-affected countries with data and analytics to promote human security. The organization works with partners worldwide to develop their own tools to generate consensus on risk factors and priorities for positive social impact as related to such factors as climate risk, violent extremism, and political instability. However, for more effective response planning, it is necessary to assess not only the level of fragility a country may be experiencing, but also areas and systems of resilience.

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With the SRI, building resilience can be much more robust and forward-looking. The SRI can serve as a benchmark to contextualize and tailor resilience strategies.

“If a country is resilient, it will certainly experience a crisis at some point, but the intensity will be dampened,” said Nate Haken, Vice President of Research and Innovation at FFP. “The effects will be contained. And the country will quickly recover after the crisis has passed.”

By focusing on positive resilience, the public and policymakers can better understand what peacebuilding looks like in practice and why it should be a key policy and programming option. The SRI uses several pillars to identify capacities and capabilities in countries under stress, including inclusion, social cohesion, state capacity, individual capabilities, economy, civic space and environment and ecology.

FFP plans to continue working with SAS to further enhance the modeling and simulations with a range of additions, including the use of machine learning and AI for the prognosis of risk, prevention, and prioritization of resiliency efforts. By facilitating structured dialogues, FFP will build on existing capabilities and then provide the countries with risk modules they can use.

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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