Vital Signs: better data. better decisions. sustaining people, nature, agriculture.
To achieve long-term food security in an uncertain climate, farmers need to increase agricultural productivity while avoiding unintended consequences for soil quality, water availability, and other benefits from healthy ecosystems. 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.
Vital Signs (VS) was designed to address this challenge by providing integrated, near real-time measurements of agriculture, ecosystem services, and human well-being. These measurements are made at all of the scales relevant to agricultural decision making—from a household to a farm, a landscape, and at the scale of a nation.
Launched initially in Africa with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Conservation International (CI), Vital Signs provides data and diagnostic tools to leaders around the world to help inform agricultural decisions and monitor their outcomes. It 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 other parts of Africa and the globe.