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Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessments Hands-On Training Workshop

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1 Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessments Hands-On Training Workshop
Introduction and Overview of Vulnerability and Adaptation Frameworks Full references can be found in Chapter 11, Bibliography, of the Handbook.

2 Outline Some introductory thoughts and getting started
What is vulnerability and adaptation to climate change? Overview of V&A frameworks 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 Some Introductory Thoughts

4 “To a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail”
Methods or models do not provide answers, but can help us gain insights The first step is to consider the question(s) being asked This slide was written to steer those conducting assessments away from being enamored with models. Models can be fun to apply but they can become an end in themselves. One has to always remember they are tools. The most important thing is the questions being asked. Then the appropriate methods should be selected to help in answering the questions.

5 Some Questions to Begin Assessment of Vulnerability and Adaptation
What is of concern? Food production, water supply, health? Concerns may not be expressed in climate terms, e.g., extreme temperature, but in consequences of climate for people Who may be affected? How far into the future is of concern? Note concerns may focus on 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.

6 Some Questions to Begin Assessment of Vulnerability and Adaptation (continued)
For what purpose is the assessment to be used? Raising awareness (education)? Policy making? (e.g., to inform a particular decision) What kind of output is needed?

7 Additional Questions to Ask Before Getting Started
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.

8 These Questions are Key Factors in Determining How to Conduct Your Study
You should not begin with the methods or models you have in hand, but with these questions Select methods and models that best help you answer the questions 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.

9 Different Questions May Lead to Different Approaches
Questions about how climate change may affect resources may lead to analysis of long-term impacts, e.g., out to 2100 Questions about adaptation may lead to analysis of vulnerability within a planning horizon, e.g., 5 to 50 years 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.

10 Who Is Asking the Question(s) May Matter for How the Work Is Done
Some may be content with research that is conducted by the researchers Others may wish for a hands-on approach e.g, involve stakeholders in conducting the analysis How the analysis is done is also important. This is something that should be sorted out with stakeholders. For some, it is not important who does the analysis, as long as the stakeholders trust that it is being done well. Other stakeholders may wish to take an active role in conducting the analysis or have people they trust (e.g., have worked with previously) conduct the research. Either way, it is important to keep stakeholders involved, at least by keeping them informed about progress and interim results.

11 Bottom Line: What Information is Needed and When is it Needed?
The key question is what information is needed and when is it needed. Trainers could ask participants to answer these questions or have a group conversation about them.

12 What Are Vulnerability and Adaptation?
Now we turn to defining vulnerability (to climate change).

13 Vulnerability Vulnerability to climate change is the risk of adverse things happening Vulnerability is a function of three factors: Exposure Sensitivity 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.

14 Exposure Exposure is what is at risk from climate change, e.g., Population Resources Property It is also the climate change that an affected system will face, e.g., Sea level Temperature Precipitation 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

15 Sensitivity Biophysical effect of climate change
Change in crop yield, runoff, energy demand It considers the socioeconomic context, e.g., the agriculture system Grain crops typically are sensitive Manufacturing typically is much less sensitive 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.

16 Adaptive Capacity Capability to adapt Function of:
Wealth Technology Education Institutions Information Infrastructure “Social capital” Having adaptive capacity does not mean it is used effectively 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).

17 Vulnerability is a Function of All Three
More exposure and sensitivity increase vulnerability More adaptive capacity decreases vulnerability An assessment of vulnerability should consider all 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.

18 Impacts of Climate Change
Impact is typically the effect of climate change For biological systems, it can be change in productivity, quality, population, or range For societal systems, an impact can be a change in income, morbidity, mortality, or other measure of well-being 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.

19 Adaptation “adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm of exploits beneficial opportunities” (Third Assessment Report, Working Group II) Notice includes “actual” (realized) or “expected” (future) changes in climate

20 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

21 Overview of Vulnerability and Adaptation Frameworks

22 Overview of Frameworks
Description of some V&A frameworks One size does not fit all Select a framework or method that best suits: Questions being asked Who is asking them What kind of answers are needed What resources and time are available This section briefly reviews a number of V&A frameworks. No single framework will be appropriate for all circumstances. Users should consider different frameworks and select one that best suits the bullets in the slide. Users may also wish to select different components of different frameworks, as long as the whole enables the questions identified at the beginning of the assessment to be addressed.

23 Two Types of Frameworks
Impacts Also known as “first generation” or “top down” Adaptation Also known as “second generation” or “bottom up” We can divide the V&A frameworks into two categories: “impacts” and “adaptation.” These particular terms have not been widely used; more common are the terms listed in the sub-bullets.

24 “Top Down” vs. “Bottom Up”
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.

25 Impacts Frameworks Driven by Need to Understand Long-Term Consequences
Tend to look out many decades (to 2100 or beyond) Tend to be 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.

26 Adaptation Frameworks Driven by Need to Supply Useful Information to Stakeholders
Tend to address near-term concerns Often address climate variability and change Emphasis on socioeconomic context Driven by stakeholder identification of issues and involvement in process Bring in analysis as necessary and appropriate Could use non-analytic 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.

27 Impacts Frameworks IPCC Seven Steps U.S. Country Studies Program
UNEP Handbook We will review these three “impacts” frameworks. The were created in the early to mid-1990s.

28 Basic Structure for Impacts 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.

29 IPCC Seven Steps 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.

30 U.S. Country Studies Program
Provided detailed guidance on specific methods Coastal resources Agriculture Livestock Water resources Vegetation Human health Wildlife Fisheries Adaptation Publications 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].

31 UNEP Handbook Presents overviews of methods Topics include
         Presents overviews of methods Source for information on different methods Not detailed guidance Topics include Climate change scenarios Socioeconomic scenarios The UNEP Handbook was intended to provide information about a number of methods so users could compare methods and choose among them. Unlike the USCSP guidance, it did not provide details on how to apply individual methods. The topics include the two listed here and the topics on the next slide.

32 UNEP Handbook (continued)
Integration Adaptation Water resources Coastal zones Agriculture Rangeland and livestock Human health Energy Forests Biodiversity Fisheries Feenstra et al. (eds.), 1998.

33 Adaptation Frameworks
UNDP Adaptation Policy Framework NAPA Guidance UKCIP These are some of the main frameworks that can be considered to be “second generation,” “bottom-up,” or “adaptation” frameworks.

34 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.

35 UNDP Adaptation Policy Framework (continued)
Contains 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.

36 NAPA Guidance National Adaptation Programmes of Action
Least developed countries identify and rank proposed measures to adapt to climate change Decision 28/CP.7 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).

37 NAPA Process The NAPA process emphasizes building on existing assessments, undertaking a national consultative process, and setting priorities for adaptation projects to address urgent vulnerabilities.

38 NAPA Guidance (continued)
Guidance provides framework for developing NAPAs Discusses: Objectives and characteristics of NAPA’s guiding elements Process Structure The NAPA guidance can be obtained at

39 UKCIP Framework 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

40 Other Approaches VARA Sustainable livelihoods
VARA: Vulnerability and Response Assessment (VARA) for Climate Variability and Change

41 Vulnerability and Response Assessment for Climate Variability and Change
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 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. Contact is Dr. Tom Wilbanks

42 Sustainable Livelihoods
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. More information can be obtained at:

43 AIACC Assessments of impacts and adaptations to climate change
Covers both impacts and adaptation approaches Assessment of Impacts and Adaptation to Climate Change (AIACC) was funded by GEF through START.

44 AIACC (continued) A total of 24 projects involving 46 countries were funded. AIACC funds collaborative research projects in developing countries. This was started to help further develop research capacity in developing countries and to increase the literature which addresses developing country vulnerability and adaptation. Results will soon be available.

45 Selecting a Framework We are not recommending use of a particular framework Different frameworks are appropriate for different needs What is needed in the long run is integration of climate change predictions and adaptation with a baseline of vulnerability 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.

46 Application of Frameworks
Projects often take longer and cost more than originally thought (or proposed) Be careful about complex frameworks You may only get through the first few steps before running out of time or funds Do what you need early on

47 Key Factors in Determining How to Conduct Your Study
You should not begin with the methods or models you have in hand, but with these questions Select methods and models that best help you answer the questions

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