Vital Signs: better data and decision-support tools to guide agricultural development that is sustainable for people and nature.
Feeding the growing world population will require an estimated 70-100% increase in food production, but agricultural activities are impacting ecosystems – and the benefits they provide for people – more than ever before. There is an urgent need for better data and risk management tools to guide agricultural development decisions, ensuring that they protect both people and nature.
Launched initially in Africa with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Conservation International (CI), Vital Signs provides near real-time data and diagnostic tools to leaders around the world to help inform agricultural decisions and monitor their outcomes. It fills a critical need for integrated measurements of agriculture, ecosystem services and human wellbeing, and is creating a “gold standard” environmental monitoring system. Vital Signs is led by CI in partnership with the Earth Institute (EI), Columbia University and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa.
The system has launched in 3 African countries – Tanzania, Ghana, and Uganda – with plans for expansion to Ethiopia and Mozambique followed by other parts of Africa and the globe.