Vulnerability Assessment and Mapping

In this theme, vulnerability assessment refers to present conditions of resources, resource management and socio-economic conditions and their sensitivity to climatic variations. A range of techniques have been developed in different sectors for vulnerability assessment--for example in famine early warning systems, livelihood security, water poverty, and health. Much of the methodological development has been related to disaster vulnerability, which is particularly relevant to climate change.

Vulnerability assessment is a starting point--it lays the foundation for more detailed assessment of resources, infrastructure and livelihoods at-risk and is a means to target the most vulnerable populations and regions for early adaptation projects.

This theme includes overviews of vulnerability and sustainable livelihoods, material related to a case study on Honduras, and presentations developed for the practical sessions on Geographic Information Systems and vulnerability mapping.

An introduction to vulnerability concepts and applications. This presentation includes an overview of sustainable livelihoods. Tom Downing - Vulnerability
This presentation is from an earlier workshop on vulnerability research. Tom Downing - Vulnerability research
The UNDP project to develop an Adaptation Planning Framework (APF) includes a technical paper on vulnerability assessment. The first order draft suggests a step-by-step approach with choices regarding, for example, the overall framework, indicators, overlays of climate risks and methods of presenting vulnerability assessment results to users. An annex summarises the approach taken by the World Food Programme on Kenya (the full document is available here as well).

APF Vulnerability Assessment Technical Paper

Recent work on vulnerability in Central America includes a range of indicators and scales. In Honduras, vulnerability assessments were conducted before and after Hurricane Mitch, with some interesting lessons learned. The Word document includes further notes.

Gina Ziervogel & Tom Downing - Honduras Case_study presentation

Honduras Case Study outline

Air photo of Mitch


Further examples of vulnerability assessment in a policy setting in Hondurus

How to choose hotspots

How to choose rehabilitation depending on climate change

An overview of climatic vulnerability in Central America. Max Campos - Central America Vulnerability
At the local scale, methods for vulnerability assessment can take advantage of stakeholder and participatory methods. Recent work in Lesotho is reported here.

Gina Ziervogel - Participatory Methods for Vulnerability Assessment presentation

Participatory Methods session outline

Livelihoods are a good starting place for understanding vulnerability to climatic risks and relevant adaptation strategies for climate change. The SEI-Boston overview presentation introduces the concepts and some case
studies. The longer presentation on sustainable livelihoods indicates how this development perspective could inform climate policy for adaptation.

Erika Spanger-Siegfried - Livelihoods presentation

Introduction to presentation

Exercise to accompany presentation

Further information on frameworks, methods and applications of a sustainable livelihoods approach can be found on the DFID/IDS web site. A comparative paper provides a good overview of approaches.

One of the documents available on-line gives a broad overview of approaches: "Livelihood approaches compared," by Diana Carney et al., 1999.

Vulnerability and adaptation study on coastal zones: the case of Senegal

Isabelle Niang-Diop: Sea Level rise in West Africa

Pictures to accompany presentation

Overview and examples of how to operationalize vulnerability indicators Anand Patwardhan - Vulnerability Indicators
The breakout session on vulnerability concepts used samples of existing vulnerabiltiy frameworks to explore concepts, definitions and methodologies. A list of methods forms a toolkit for selecting appropriate methods.

Tom Downing - Vulnerabiltiy Module

Toolkit For Vulnerability

Vulnerability Mapping

An overview of Geographic Information Systems and their application to vulnerability assessment. Jeremy Mennis - Intro GIS
Overview of vulnerability mapping. Linda Stephen - Introduction to vulnerability mapping
Vulnerability techniques in famine early warning systems. Linda Stephen - Early Warning
Introduction to the sample data base used in the course practicals. Database
A practical exercise in vulnerability mapping. Exercise