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The Workshop

The workshop focused on presentations of the methodologies used in different FAO poverty mapping and WFP vulnerability mapping activities. Participants were mainly spatial information users, involved in sustainable development, food security, poverty alleviation, vulnerability and natural resources management within FAO and WFP.

The issues that represent major concerns in terms of implementation and use of poverty and vulnerability maps relate to the lack of validation of the maps and the results in the field, and the lack of appropriate communication or understanding between the technical staff, the decision-makers and the donor community.

The workshop provided a good opportunity for the different groups to share their expertise and exchange information on the tools and methodologies they are using in their poverty and vulnerability mapping activities. They all agreed that as much as data sharing is important, information sharing is also essential to provide timely information to decision-makers, avoid duplication of efforts, enhance capabilities and expertise and to provide access to analytical tools and approaches that could the be adopted more widely.


Poverty maps have been increasingly used in recent years to provide information on the spatial distribution of poverty and therefore to provide a tool to target interventions to reduce poverty. The use of maps and GIS-based poverty analysis makes it easier to integrate poverty data from various sources, and facilitates visualization and interpretation of the results also for a non-specialist audience.
The assessment of poverty information comes from a variety of sources and can be presented at various levels (global, national and local). Indicators of income poverty (such as GDP per capita or daily subsistence levels), or of well-being (such as life expectancy, child mortality, or literacy) are most frequently used in poverty maps, and are derived from national census data or household surveys.

Poverty mapping and vulnerability assessments are in fact inter-linked and in a way complementary to each other. Many FAO and WFP activities have similar objectives: to provide support to interventions to target poverty reduction and food assistance for example. To do so, they both provide decision-makers with the results of geo- statistical analyses that aim to map vulnerable areas, as well as poor areas. Both organizations rely on similar datasets and tools to perform the analyses. Remote sensing and GIS for instance are now extensively used respectively to provide data on a number of environmental parameters and to support spatial analysis and assessments.