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Overview of Methodological Frameworks for Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from Parties.

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Presentation on theme: "Overview of Methodological Frameworks for Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from Parties."— Presentation transcript:

1 Overview of Methodological Frameworks for Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment
Consultative Group of Experts on National Communications from Parties not Included in Annex I to the UNFCCC (CGE) Hands-on Training Workshop on Vulnerability and Adaptation forAsian and Pacific Countries 20~24 March 2006 Jakarta, Indonesia Xianfu Lu NCSP, UNDP-UNEP-GEF Full references can be found in Chapter 11, Bibliography, of the Handbook.

2 In the next 40 minutes or so…
Key terms: Impacts, Adaptation/adaptive capacity, and Vulnerability Scoping a V&A assessment: key questions to ask and issues to consider Overview of V&A frameworks: options and their application contexts Note this presentation covers Chapters 1 and 2 in the Handbook. However it goes beyond them. In particular, the introductory thoughts are not discussed in the Handbook. They reflect my views. Someone else giving this presentation may not necessarily be comfortable with them.

3 Key terms Now we turn to defining vulnerability (to climate change).

4 Key terms: Vulnerability
Vulnerability to climate change is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of: The character, magnitude, and rate of climate variation to which a system is exposed; Its Sensitivity; and Its adaptive capacity Vulnerability concerns the risk of adverse things happening. Climate change is likely to have some benefits, but vulnerability is not concerned with that.

5 Exposure Exposure is what is at risk from climate change, e.g.,
Population; Natural resources; Infrastructure and property It also includes aspects of climate change that an affected system will face, e.g., Sea level rise; Temperature warming; Precipitation change; Intensified extreme events There are two elements to exposure: what can affected by climate change and the change in climate itself. Note that the World Bank is developing a screening tool for identifying within a region those development activities that may be most vulnerable to climate change. Information can be obtained from Dr. Ian Noble

6 Sensitivity The degree to which a system is affected, either adversely or beneficially, by a given climate-related stimuli; Direct (e.g., reduction in crop yield caused by increased drought conditions), or indirect (e.g., damage to properties from coastal flooding caused by sea level rise); Generally, primary production systems (e.g., agriculture, forestry) are much more sensitive to climate variations, compared with most secondary and tertiary sectors (e.g., manufacturing and services) Sensitivity is basically the biophysical effect of climate change; but sensitivity can be changed by socioeconomic changes. For example, new crop varieties could be more or less sensitive to climate change.

7 Adaptive Capacity The ability of a system to adjust to climate change to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences; Determined by the access to: Wealth, technology, education, institutions, information, infrastructure, “Social capital” The mere possession of adaptive capacity does NOT guarantee that adaptation actually takes place. Adaptive capacity is the capability to adapt. The factors listed under the second bullet are from the IPCC Third Assessment Report (Smit et al., 2001). Having capacity does not guarantee it will be used effectively (a good evacuation plan may not be effectively implemented).

8 Vulnerability is determined by these three factors.
Exposure and sensitivity are positively related to vulnerability. The greater the exposure or sensitivity, the greater the vulnerability. Adaptive capacity is negatively related to vulnerability. The greater the adaptive capacity, the less the vulnerability.

9 Impacts of Climate Change
… is typically the effect of climate change: For biological systems, it can be changes in productivity, quality, population, or diversity For societal systems, an impact can be a change in income, morbidity, mortality, or other measures of well-being Adverse as well as beneficial Parry and Carter (1998) define impacts this way. Note that there a few formal definitions of “impacts of climate change.” The term “vulnerability” is more commonly used. The term “impacts” is often used more loosely.

10 Adaptation “… adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities”

11 Adaptation (continued)
Two types of adaptation: Autonomous adaptation or reactive adaptation tends to be what people and systems do as impacts of climate change become apparent Anticipatory or proactive adaptation are measures taken to reduce potential risks of future climate change V&A research and adaptation planning are largely addressing issues associated with anticipatory/planned adaptation.

12 Different States of Impacts and Vulnerability
Parry and Carter (1998) define impacts this way. Note that there a few formal definitions of “impacts of climate change.” The term “vulnerability” is more commonly used. The term “impacts” is often used more loosely.

13 Different States of Impacts and Vulnerability (continued)
Different definitions might be used to describe different states of impacts and vulnerability. Therefore, it is important to explicitly specify the context of the definition whenever it is used. Parry and Carter (1998) define impacts this way. Note that there a few formal definitions of “impacts of climate change.” The term “vulnerability” is more commonly used. The term “impacts” is often used more loosely.

14 Scoping a V&A Assessment

15 Some questions to ask… What is of concern? Who may be affected?
Food production, water supply, health Concerns may not be expressed in climate terms, e.g., extreme temperature, but in consequences of climate for people (e.g., excess mortality caused by heat-waves) Who may be affected? How far into the future is of concern? Or is the concern really about current risks (which could be made worse by climate change)? These are some of the key questions that should be answered at the beginning of an assessment. They will be useful for setting boundaries for the assessment and for determining what methods and approaches may be needed.

16 Some questions to ask… (continued)
For what purpose is the assessment to be conducted? Engaging stakeholders (public awareness campaign)? Enhancing scientific understanding (a piece of scholarship)? Designing adaptation strategy or formulating adaptation projects (policy support )?

17 Different purposes require different approaches to V&A assessment.
The time frame being examined is also a very important matter. Those interested in understanding impacts of climate change ought to look over many decades, perhaps out to This is because climate change impacts become more easy to detect or differentiate from current climate variation in the long run. Those more interested in current vulnerability or adaptation strategies may wish to focus on the next few decades up to about This is generally because most policy makers would have difficulty planning for more than a few decades and some might even have difficulty planning for a few decades into the future.

18 Some questions to ask… (continued)
Who is the targeted end-users of the results of your V&A assessment? Level of technical details; Treatment of uncertainties; Format for presenting results What kind of output/information is expected from the Assessment? Public awareness materials (e.g., climate scenarios and their potential impacts etc.); Key vulnerabilities (e.g., risk/vulnerability maps); A national/sectoral adaptation strategy; or A combination of the above

19 Additional Questions to Ask
What resources are available to conduct the study? Money Staff Expertise How much time is available? These practical questions about resource availability are also important too. If time, money, or staffing is limited, there is less you can do. If you have more of them, you can do more.

20 These Questions are Key Factors in Determining How the V&A should be conducted.
So, You should NOT begin with the methods or models you have in hand, but with these questions. Select methods and models that are most appropriate for your V&A assessment Once you have determined the questions to be addressed and the availability of resources, then you can look at what methods and models are appropriate.

21 Overview of Vulnerability and Adaptation Frameworks

22 Types of Frameworks Approaches to V&A assessments can be categorized by the subject matter; spatial scale; and chronology of the assessments V&A assessment frameworks can be categorized along different orientations. Mostly commonly, they are grouped into two categories: Top-down and Bottom-up: Top-down methods describe climate scenario-driven and downscaled approaches that progress through the physical sciences to socio-economic outcomes which are largely exploratory, whereas bottom-up approaches start from the socio-economic outcomes at the local scale to manage vulnerability through adaptation and are largely normative.

23 “Top Down” vs. “Bottom Up” Frameworks
Source: Dessai and Hulme, 2004. Dessai and Hulme point out differences between bottom up (adaptation) and top down (impacts) frameworks. The differences include: Focus. Bottom up tend to focus on social vulnerabilities; top down tend to at least start with analysis of biophysical impacts, e.g., change in crop yields, runoff, or sea level rise. Scale. Bottom up tend to focus on smaller geographic scales, whereas top down tend to focus on larger geographic scale impacts. Time Horizon. Bottom up tend to address past and near term risks or concerns, while top down tend to address longer tem risks, e.g., fifty to one hundred years in the future.

24 “Top-down” Frameworks
Focusing on long-term (e.g., 2100 or beyond) implications of climate change Often scenario driven Impacts frameworks focus on consequences of climate change. They look out many decades to capture more significant change in climate (the further from the present the greater the change in climate). They also tend to rely on scenarios, e.g., from climate models. One of the reasons for examining long-term consequences, particularly in the first generation frameworks, was to inform policy makers about the potential consequences of continued GHG emissions. Given the lifetime of carbon dioxide (the main GHG) in the atmosphere, it makes sense to look out as far as a century.

25 Basic Structure for “Top-down” Frameworks
The basic structure for the impacts frameworks is presented here. The assessment begins with development of baseline scenarios. These are scenarios of changes in socioeconomic conditions, such as population, income (gross domestic product or GDP), technologies, institutions, and environmental conditions. As baseline conditions change, so too can vulnerability (e.g., by changing exposure, sensitivity, or adaptive capacity). Scenarios of climate change are then developed and applied. The first analysis of impacts is typically on biophysical impacts such as amount of land potentially inundated by sea level rise, change in crop yields, change in runoff, etc. If the impacts on society are being examined, the next analysis is on the effects of climate change on society. Often, this is the consequence of biophysical changes In considering the impacts on society, autonomous adaptation should be taken into account (because people will most likely attempt to adapt to climate change). In addition, integration of impacts across related systems and sectors (e.g., examine not just in water supply, but how it would affect related sectors such as agriculture, but also examine change in demand for water). The result of all of this is estimation of vulnerability of a system. Purposeful (or proactive) adaptations can then be examined. These may be changes in baseline conditions to anticipate potential impacts of climate change.

26 The IPCC “7-Step” Describing the Procedures involved in the “Top-down” Framework
Define the problem Select the method Test the method Select scenarios Assess biophysical and socioeconomic impacts Assess autonomous adjustments Evaluate adaptation strategies IPCC Seven steps were developed by Tim Carter and colleagues (1994). It was the first attempt to define a process for assessing vulnerability to climate change. Sources: Carter et al., 1994; Parry and Carter, 1998.

27 “Top-down” Frameworks applied in most V&A assessments to date
U.S. Country Studies Programme (http://www.gcrio.org/CSP/webpage.html); National V&A assessments as reported in the Initial National Communications (INCs) of NAI Parties (http://unfccc.int/national_reports/non-annex_i_natcom/items/2979.php ); Assessments reported in the Third Assessment Report of the IPCCC (TAR) (http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg2/index.htm) The U.S. Country Studies Program (USCSP) ran in the early to mid-1990s. The USCSP worked with more than 50 developing countries and countries in transition on GHG inventories, V&A, and mitigation strategies. More than 40 countries assessed vulnerability and adaptation. Detailed guidance was provided on assessment methods for all of the sectors listed. The guidance applied to only one method per sector. Sources: Benioff and Warren (eds.) [addresses assessment of adaptation]; Benioff et al. (eds.) [contains guidance on impacts assessment for all the sectors listed].

28 “Bottom-up” Frameworks
Addressing near-term concerns Driven by issues identified through stakeholder consultations Analysis to be conducted as deemed necessary Application of “informal” analytical techniques Adaptation frameworks tend to address more near term concerns such as vulnerability to climate variability. Socioeconomic context (e.g., sustainable livelihoods) is very important. They also tend to involve stakeholders more than the impacts frameworks.

29 “Bottom-up” Frameworks
UNDP Adaptation Policy Framework (APF); NAPA Guidance; UKCIP Risk, Uncertainty, and Decision-making Framework These are some of the main frameworks that can be considered to be “second generation,” “bottom-up,” or “adaptation” frameworks.

30 UNDP Adaptation Policy Framework
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Adaptation Policy Framework (APF) is the first of the “second generation” frameworks. It was developed to place much more emphasis on current vulnerabilities to climate variability than were the “first generation” frameworks. Thus, assessing current vulnerability (to current climate risks) is the second step in the framework. The framework also emphasizes continued stakeholder involvement in the assessment process. The APF can be downloaded at It is also published in: Lim et al. (eds.) 2005.

31 UNDP Adaptation Policy Framework (continued)
Technical papers on: Scoping and designing an adaptation project Engaging stakeholders in the adaptation process Assessing vulnerability for climate adaptation Assessing current climate risks Assessing future climate risks Assessing current and changing socioeconomic conditions Assessing and enhancing adaptive capacity Formulating an adaptation strategy Continuing the adaptation process The technical papers provide more details on specific aspects of the framework. Each number in the slide corresponds to the number of the technical paper. All these papers are freely available at:

32 NAPA Guidance Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to identify immediate & urgent needs for adaptation; Synthesizing existing information and knowledge, undertaking a national consultative process, and setting priorities for adaptation projects to address urgent vulnerabilities; Followed an “8-step” process to formulate adaptation programme of action The National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA) is the one guidance that comes out of the Convention process. It is tied to allocation of adaptation funds under the Convention. NAPAs were approved at COP-7 (in Marrakech). NAPA guidance developed by the LEG (Least Developed Countries Expert Group) described an 8-step process to formulate NAPAs.

33 NAPA “8-step” Process NAPA guidance developed by the LEG (Least Developed Countries Expert Group) described an 8-step process to formulate NAPAs. Building a multidisciplinary NAPA team; Synthesizing available vulnerability assessments; Rapid participatory integrated assessment; Public consultation aimed at identifying potential ideas for activities; Articulating potential NAPA activities based on ideas from consultations; Ranking criteria; Ranking projects/activities and demonstrating integration into national policy frameworks and programmes; Developing project profiles and submitting NAPAs The NAPA process emphasizes building on existing assessments, undertaking a national consultative process, and setting priorities for adaptation projects to address urgent vulnerabilities.

34 UKCIP Risk-Uncertainty-Decision-making (“8-step”) Framework
The United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) is one of the most comprehensive and ambitious national programs to address climate change impacts and adaptation. UKCIP has organized information on climate change and vulnerabilities in Britain and has worked closely with stakeholders in many regions to address adaptation to climate change. The UKCIP published a guidance on how to address adaptation. The main steps in the guidance are displayed in this slide. Guidance Document on Climate Adaptation: Risk, Uncertainty, and Decision Making This framework is to enhance decision-making under uncertainties associated with climate change. It encourages decision makers to consider all relevant uncertainties within the decision context, including climate change uncertainties, as well as uncertainties related to adaptive capacity and performances of policies under future conditions.

35 UKCIP Risk-Uncertainty-Decision-making Framework (continued)
Identify problem and objectives Establish decision-making criteria Assess risk Identify options Appraise options Make decision Implement decision Monitor, evaluate, and review The United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) is one of the most comprehensive and ambitious national programs to address climate change impacts and adaptation. UKCIP has organized information on climate change and vulnerabilities in Britain and has worked closely with stakeholders in many regions to address adaptation to climate change. The UKCIP published a guidance on how to address adaptation. The main steps in the guidance are displayed in this slide. Guidance Document on Climate Adaptation: Risk, Uncertainty, and Decision Making Source: UKCIP, 2003 [http://www.ukcip.org.uk/resources/publications/documents/RUD_master.pdf]

36 Other Derivations of “Bottom-up” Frameworks
VARA (Vulnerability and Response Assessment for Climate Variability and Change (http://public.ornl.gov/vara/ ) Sustainable livelihoods (http://www.livelihoods.org) VARA is being developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.It is useful for organizing information about local vulnerability to climate change and response strategies. It does not allow for quantitative or detailed analysis of vulnerability or responses. Heuristic, not analytic device Nonquantitative Five step approach Consider local factors affecting vulnerability Estimate climate change impacts Estimate local impacts Identify coping capacity and resilience Identify strategies for action The sustainable livelihoods approach focuses on livelihoods of the poor. It focuses on the assets and vulnerabilities of the poor. It is an approach for identifying development needs and for assessing the effectiveness of existing poverty reduction programs. The focus is very much on the current situation, i.e., near-term planning rather than long-term planning. The challenge in using approaches such as this to examine climate change is how to reconcile a focus on the short term with long-term climate change.

37 Selecting a Framework No particular framework can be recommended without a specific context Different frameworks are appropriate for different needs and have different requirements. What is needed in the long run is a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches, or their elements. The frameworks are divided between adaptation and impacts. What is desirable is if these approaches can be merged in a manner that can begin with vulnerabilities (which often are based in the present) but can integrate long-term risks from climate change.

38 A GEF-funded V&A assessment project: AIACC
24 projects in Africa, Asia & Pacific, Latin America & the Caribbean (including 6 projects in the Region: China, Fiji & Cook Islands, Indonesia-Philippines, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Thailand/countries sharing the Mekong River Basin); Assessing vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in multiple sectors; Applying a wide range of approaches, methods, and tools; A wealth body of resources available at Assessment of Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change (AIACC) was funded by GEF through START.

39 Finally, a few points worth remembering…
Projects often take longer and cost more than originally thought (or proposed); You may only get through the first few steps before running out of time or/and funds; So Do what you NEED (not what you want!) early on; and

40 Once again… You should NOT begin with the methods or models you have in hand, but with these questions. Select methods and models that are most appropriate for your particular V&A assessment Once you have determined the questions to be addressed and the availability of resources, then you can look at what methods and models are appropriate.


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