Presentation on theme: "Vulnerability of People, Places and Systems to Environmental Change"— Presentation transcript:
1 Vulnerability of People, Places and Systems to Environmental Change Neil LearySTARTDecember 18, 2002CMU Distance Seminar
2 Consequences of environmental change are not uniform Differ for differentPeoplePlacesTimesResponses to the risks will also differ
3 Vulnerability Assessment Investigation ofcauses of differential consequences andresponses to offset, lessen or prevent potential adverse consequences.Seeks answers to questions such asWho (or what) is vulnerable?To what are they vulnerable?Why are they vulnerable?What responses can lessen vulnerability?
4 Overview of talk Define vulnerability and related concepts Compare vulnerability and impact assessment approachesDescribe selected frameworks for vulnerability assessmentSummary from selected literature of who and what are vulnerable to global environmental change
5 Numerous definitions of vulnerability Differ in their emphases and detailsCommon elements of most definitions:the capacity to suffer harm from exposure to perturbations or stressesclimate change and extremes, land degradation, demographic change, technological change, . . .this capacity is conditioned by a variety of internal factors that shape the state of the people, system or place being exposed
6 Two strands in study of vulnerability: biophysical and social Biophysical - roots in natural hazards fieldfocus is on characterizing exposure to a hazard in biophysical termsidentify spatial distribution of the hazardestimate human occupancy of hazard zonedetermine the magnitude, duration, frequency of the hazardestimate the potential loss of life and property associated with occurrence of the hazard
7 Social strand of vulnerability research Primary attention given to social determinants of vulnerabilityCauses of vulnerability sought in the social processes thatplace people in harm’s wayshape capacities to absorb stresses, cope with and adapt to change, and recover from harm
8 Integration of these strands Has yielded a framework in which determinants of vulnerability are grouped into 3 dimensions of vulnerabilityExposureSensitivityResilience*Coping and adaptation capacities are key aspects of sensitivity and resilience.
10 Vulnerability can be lessened by interventions at a number of points Lessen exposure to perturbations and stressesLessen sensitivities to exposuresIncrease capacities to cope or adaptIncrease resilience and recovery potential
12 Impact vs Vulnerability Assessment Impact AssessmentMotivation: how bad are the risks?Attempt to “predict” impactsCareful attention to modeling future exposureCapacities not emphasizedFocus on a single stressRecent experience not directly relevantTreatment of adaptation is ad hoc, afterthoughtVulnerability AssessmentMotivation: what would reduce risks?Investigate causes of vulnerabilityCareful attention to social causes of vulnerability, capacities to respond using sensitivity analysesMultiple stresses consideredRecent experience with hazards, stresses used as analoguesTreatment of adaptation central
13 Common Ground for V & I Analyses VA needed to provide more sophisticated understanding & representation ofCapacities of people, communities, systemsAdaptation processes and effectivenessDimensions of the hazard that matter mostImpact models can integrate info about capacities with “predicted” exposuresQuantitative estimates of impacts for different scenarios of capacities and exposuresQuantitative risk analysis
14 Some approaches to vulnerability assessment Entitlements theory (A. Sen, 1981)Political-ecology (Bohle, Downing, Watts, 1994)Coupled human-environment system (Kasperson et al, 2002)
15 “Starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic of there being not enough food to eat. While the later can cause the former, it is but one of many possible causes.”A. Sen, Poverty and Famines, An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, 1981, pg 1
16 Entitlements framework Endowment bundleindividual’s own labor power plus land and other assets he/she ownsEntitlement mappingrules, processes for transforming endowment bundle into entitlements (e.g. market structure & regulations, rights to communal output, . . .)Entitlement setcommodity bundles, including food, that can be commanded given an initial endowment
17 Endowments can be partitioned into those that map into entitlement sets that include a minimum food requirement and allow the individual to avoid starvation andthose that do not and in consequence lead to starvation.
18 Environmental change can make people more (less) vulnerable to hunger/poverty Collapsing (expanding) endowmentse.g. climate change that reduces (increases) productivity of a peasant’s landChanges in entitlement mappinge.g. land use changes that increase (decrease) food pricesThese changes can place minimum food requirements and basic needs within or outside the reach of some.
19 Applications of entitlement theory Kelly and Adger (2000) examine effect of privatizing economy of Vietnam on vulnerability of coastal villages to stormsvariety of effects on endowments and entitlement mappingsnet effects ambiguousbut can identify aspects that amplify or dampen vulnerability and which can be targeted by adaptive responses
20 Political-Ecology Framework 3 Dimensions to vulnerabilityExposure to crises, stress, shocksCapacity to copeRecovery potentialHow person, group or place is situated in these dimensions determined byHuman ecologyExpanded entitlementsPolitical economy
21 Human ecology: relations between society and nature Means by which humans transform nature into goods and services & properties of society and ecosystems that govern transformationsExpanded entitlements: extension of Sen to wider social entitlementsPolitical economy: macro-scale processesSet/change rules for how entitlements are secured, contested, defended;Also for drawing on broader resources for recoveryShape development path; place of different groups in it.
23 Subsistence herders in Mongolia Exposed to “dzud” (harsh winter)Livelihood is sensitive to rangeland productivity, which is impacted by “dzud”Resilience shaped by condition of land, which is function of history of land useLand tenure key determinant of entitlementsentitlements changing (large communes to private holdings, also “traditional” communes)Herders have some leverage in domestic political-economy to alter rules for tenure
24 Coupled Human-Environment System Human & natural systems treated more explicitly as coupledinteractions, feedbacks modeledgive rise to vulnerability by determining exposure, sensitivity and resilienceFocus shifted from single to multiple, ongoing stressesInternal as well as external stresses treatedResponses that amplify or dampen vulnerability treated as endogenousInvestigation at multiple spatial & temporal scales emphasized, cross-scale interactions
25 Who and What are Vulnerable? Different conceptual frameworks, limited information on exposures, sensitivities & resilience, site specific factors hamper synthesis.Some general, tentative conclusionsIndividuals/livelihoods: Bohle et al (1994), Kelly-Adger (2000), FAO (1999)Settlements: Scott et al (2001, IPCC, WG2)Regions: IPCC, WG2 Summary for Policymakers
26 Vulnerable individuals & livelihoods Individuals particularly vulnerable to environmental change are those withRelatively high exposures to changesHigh sensitivities to changesLow coping and adaptive capacitiesLow resilience and recovery potential
27 Vulnerable individuals & livelihoods Persons w/ livelihoods dependent on primary resources of variable & fragile productivityFarming, herding, fishing, hunting/gathering, loggingIndigenous people w/ traditional livelihoodsWage laborers in remote areas w/ no direct access to agricultural production.Inhabitants of exposed & sensitive placesPoor - lack entitlements needed to cope, adapt, recoverRefugees - often nearly destitute, rely on aidDisenfranchised - lack ability within political economy to influence changes in entitlements
28 Groups vulnerable to hunger (FAO, 1999) Victims of conflictrefugees, landless, disabled, widows & orphansMigrant workers and their familiesMarginal groups in urban areasSchool dropouts, new migrants, unemployed, informal sector workers, homeless, . . .At-Risk social groupsIndigenous people, minorities, illiterateLow income in vulnerable livelihood systemsSubsistence or small scale farming, female headed farm households, landless peasants, agricultural laborers, . . .Dependent people living alone
29 Vulnerable Settlements (Scott et al., 2001, IPCC TAR) Evaluated vulnerabilities of different settlement types to different climate stressesPrimary resource dependent settlementsSettlements in coastal or riverine floodplains, steep-slopesUrban vs ruralHigh vs low capacity to cope and adaptVulnerability rated Low, Moderate, HighLow: impacts barely discernible, easily overcomeModerate: impacts clearly noticeable but not disruptive, may require significant expense/difficulty to adaptHigh: impacts clearly disruptive, may not be overcome w/ adaptation, or cost of adaptation itself is disruptive
30 Vulnerable Settlements (Scott et al., 2001, IPCC TAR)
31 Vulnerable Settlements (Scott et al., 2001, IPCC TAR) Vulnerability to flooding/landslides widespread across all settlement types consideredResource dependent settlements more vulnerable to changes in productivity of primary resourcesCoastal/steepland settlements more vulnerable to floods, landslidesRural more vulnerable than urbanLow capacity more vulnerable than high capacity
32 Vulnerability of regions to climate change (from IPCC, 2001) Substantial differences within regionsDeveloping world highly vulnerableDeveloped world generally less vulnerableBut some marginalized populations highly vulnerable
33 High vulnerability in developing world Low levels of human, financial, natural, physical capitalLarge number of poor, destitute, compromised healthLimited institutional and technological capabilitiesOther stresses taxing capacity to cope, adapt, recoverClimate sensitive primary resource sectors account for large share of GDPLarger share of pop. earn livelihoods from these sectorsHarsher exposures/impacts in some casesGrain yields more likely to decrease in tropics, subtropics than in temperate climatesInfectious disease is greater risk at present; more vulnerable to increases from climate change
34 Africa Very low adaptive capacity, high vulnerability Human-Environment conditions:High proportion pop. poor, risk of hunger, low health statusLow HDI, little capital1/3 incomes from farming; 70% earn livelihood from farmingHigh reliance on rainfed ag; highly variable rainfallKey concernsFood security, water availability, infectious disease, desertification, extreme weather, biodiversity
35 Asia Capacity varied, vulnerability varied Human-Environment conditionsWide range development levels; HDI low in south, medium southeast, high some countriesLarge pop. in poverty2/3 of world’s undernourished live in AsiaKey concernsExtreme weather, changes in monsoon, food security, water availability, infectious disease, coastal settlements, biodiversity, infrastructure in permafrost zones
36 North America (Canada & US) High adaptive capacity, low vulnerabilityHuman-Environment conditionsHigh HDI, high food security, good health statusSome communities/groups vulnerableKey concernsAgricultural productivity, water availability, ecosystem change/loss, coastal settlements, extreme weather, insurance losses, health