Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)

Data for Good: Improving Humanitarian Mine Action Through Open Source Conflict Data

Data for Good poster

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

12:00pm – 1:00pm

McKinney Conference Room, 111 Thayer Street

Since 2011, the use of explosive weapons has proliferated in Syria during the conflict. Due to a variety of factors, a percentage of these fail to detonate or are abandoned during the fighting. These explosive remnants of war (ERW), in addition to landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), pose an enduring, multi-generational threat to a population long after the violence has stopped. While on the ground operations by humanitarian mine action (HMA) actors are among the most effective ways to deal with the physical threat of ERW, landmine, and IED contamination, this is not always possible due to various restrictions and instead, HMA actors turn to desk-based assessments involving data.

In this presentation, Jonathan Robinson will discuss his experience working with the Carter Center to lead the development of an innovative methodology using open-source conflict data to infer where potential areas of explosive weapons contamination may be located. He will also present initial findings from this work that are featured in the latest edition of the Journal for Conventional Weapons Destruction.

Human Rights and Humanitarianism in Action

Jonathan Robinson specializes in aid worker security and conflict analysis. He has previously focused on Syria through his work as a senior researcher for the Carter Center’s Syria Conflict Resolution Program and as a safety advisor for the International NGO Safety Organization’s (INSO) Syria team. Prior to joining the humanitarian sector, Jonathan worked as a security analyst for a British private security company in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and southern Iraq. He has also supported the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) in Syria, the Halo Trust’s Yemen Program, and Caritas Switzerland’s Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria Programs with advice and research. Jonathan holds a MSc in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Edinburgh and BA (honors) in Archaeology from Durham University.