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Vulnerability: Progress in food Security Thomas E. Downing Environmental Change Institute Oxford.

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Presentation on theme: "Vulnerability: Progress in food Security Thomas E. Downing Environmental Change Institute Oxford."— Presentation transcript:

1 Vulnerability: Progress in food Security Thomas E. Downing Environmental Change Institute Oxford

2 Vulnerability is…  An aggregate measure of human welfare that integrates environmental, social, economic and political exposure to a range of harmful perturbations.

3 The zephyrs of breeze that locate vulnerability within the trade winds of globalisation and climate change … … demand our concern, before they become gales … must be charted with new instruments spawned by multiple disciplines and appropriate technologies … can be buffered through known strategies and measures Mozambique waiting for more rain

4 Workshop challenges  How strong is current knowledge in this area?  What do we best and least understand?  What new research would be most important?  What major synthetic approaches have evolved?  Can vulnerability be internalised into broader integrated assessments?

5 Outline  Placing vulnerability in context: Demand for information Historical trends  Examples and methodologies  State of knowledge  Conclusions (if any)

6 Demand for information  Where are the vulnerable? Targeting geographical region, socio-economic class  Who are vulnerable? Relative vulnerability among households and individuals  What should be done? Link to intervention/adaptation  What is the future of vulnerability? Exposure to global change, policy impacts

7 Uses of vulnerability assessments

8 Historical perspective  Exposure: Food security --> Livelihood security  VAM: Hoovering --> Structured assessment Single indicator --> Profiles --> Pathways?  Rescaling Regional --> Individual --> Globalisation

9 How can we assess vulnerability, and its links to global change and adaptive capacity?  Typologies of methods  Comparisons of methods  Agency and institutions

10 Operational vulnerability assessment  How do we develop a consensual definition and measurement of vulnerability?  How do we measure vulnerability?

11 Typologies  Single and multiple indices  Expert decision support system  Empirical  Process model



14 Vulnerability profile for Ethiopia

15 Emerging Sustainable Farmers An agent-based approach to seasonal climate forecasting Climate Forecasters Dissemination Channels Commercial Farmers Vulnerable Farmers Represent actors as software agents Multi-level vulnerability Processes and pathways Emergence from interactions

16 State of knowledge  Levels  Processes  Threats Competing definitions Common wisdom Evidence based policy (interventions)

17 Scales of vulnerability  Global: Stable assessment of global poverty  Uncertain relations to global change and globalisation  Regional/national: Stable ranking of relative vulnerability  Local:  Patchy, depending on assessments  Slow response to emerging vulnerable groups  Time scales  Short term fluctuations and long term evolution Seasonal scales subject to famine early warning

18 Processes  Human ecology of production: Well known, but connected to other scales  Exchange economy and impoverishment:  Extent of global linkages poor  Political economy and empowerment: Fair understanding  Nutritional status and interventions: Well understood  Concatenation of exposure:  Few studies across the range of exposure  Difficult to generalise

19 Threats  Environmental degradation, climate change  Conflict  Economic change: recession, hyperinflation  Underdevelopment Pathways and mechanisms ? Relative risk  Local realisation


21 Conclusions


23 HAZARD VULNERABILITY RISK SPACE  Risk is the overlay of hazard and vulnerability  Disasters are the realisation of risk  Both hazard and vulnerability are changing

24 Confidence in climate change Confidence in future climate change varies. Some elements can be projected--the direction of change is known. For others, the sign of the change is not known, but the range of projections is bounded reasonably well. For complex changes, our knowledge is limited to approximate shifts in risks and potential for surprises.

25 Vulnerability is…  about equity…linking climate change to uneven development  concerns people…begin with the humanitarian concerns for vulnerable socio-economic groups  an integrating method…for targeting adaptation

26 Priorities for adaptation

27 Focus on the most vulnerable groups  Sustainable livelihoods Resource poor Uncertain incomes Marginalised  In context Institutional capacity Governance Infrastructure

28 Criteria for evaluating adaptation  Apply criteria to relevant stakeholders and vulnerable groups Resilience and effectiveness Strategic responses Timing Economic evaluation Constraints Conflicts

29 Adaptation strategies for water

30 Evaluation of strategies in agriculture

31 Dessication in the Sahel  In the last 10 years long-term impacts of droughts and famines of the 1970s in Sahel became evident  Major droughts in the past Century 1910-1916, 1941-1945, late 1960 with a peak in 1970s  In the last 10 years long-term impacts of droughts and famines of the 1970s in Sahel became evident

32 Responses  Wide range of coping strategies bartering, migration, social welfare, formal insurance, education, etc.  Research and monitoring: Creation of CILSS in 1973  Early warning systems  Working with the human and drought-induced stress on natural ecosystems  Improved agricultural production technologies (improved variety of millet and sorghum, intensive cultivation techniques)  Increase of rural mobility

33 Boosting local capacities  Creation of farmers cooperatives  Small-scale NGOs and CBOs projects  Integration of environmental rehabilitation to development projects and programs  Innovative techniques in soil and water conservation  Popular erosion control methods  Agroforestry

34 Regional and national levels  Improving and strengthening local management and development initiatives  Building upon own skills, indigenous knowledge and resources  Assess long term trends  Improving sustainable livelihood systems

35 Cyclones and sea level rise  Progressive coping capacity in Bangladesh: 1 million deaths in 1960s 100,000 deaths in 1970s 10,000 deaths in 1980s 1,000 deaths in 1990s  Aid can be effective

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