Vulnerability Assessment by linzhengnd


									Vulnerability Assessment

 Desmond McNeill (Siri Eriksen)
    The dynamics of vulnerability: locating coping
           strategies in Kenya and Tanzania,
          The Geographical Journal, Dec 2005
     Siri Eriksen, Katrina Brown and P Mick Kelly

• Vulnerability: various definitions:
  “the potential to be adversely affected by an
  event or change”.

• Physical or social vulnerability.
 IPCC: three components of vulnerability:

• Exposure
• Sensitivity
• Capacity to adapt.
• Coping not same as adaptation: coping is within
  existing structures, adaptation changes the
  framework in which coping takes place.

• “Double exposure” (O’Brien and Leichenko, 2000)
  those members of society most vulnerable to
  global economic change may also be most
  vulnerable to climate change.
• Comparative case study: how small scale
  farmers in dryland East Africa cope with
  climate stress, and the implications for
  reducing their vulnerability

• Mbiti in Kenya, in Kitui District
• Saweni in Tanzania, Same District.
• Limits to human responses faced with several
  environmental stresses. Factors exclude
  sections of population from adopting
  particular coping strategies, e.g.
• Gendered access to labour power, capital and
  natural resources and skills, and restricted
  mobility exclude many women from
  successfully adopting specialised coping
 Vulnerability Assessments in the
Developing World: Mozambique and
           South Africa

Siri Eriksen, Coleen Vogel, Gina Ziervogel,
  Franziska Steinbruch and Florence Nazare
• Different institutional starting points lead to
  assessments investigating very different
  dimensions of vulnerability:
• Time scale: short / long
• Stressors, e.g. natural disasters, economic
• Focus; e.g. food security, health, economic
• Trends towards linking data to longer term
  policy processes.

• To identify longer term policies that target the
  causes of vulnerability, a different set of
  methods is needed than those tailored to
  emergency responses
• Vulnerability cannot be assessed using a single
  stressor technique.
• Link assessment efforts by government sectors
  and institutions with those that are academic

• Southern African Vulnerability Initiative
   Why different interpretations of
vulnerability matter in climate change

Karen O’Brien, Siri Eriksen, Lynn Nygaard, Ane

Climate Policy , 2007 (73-88).
Synthesis Article.
• Vulnerability is widely seen as an integrative
  concept that can link the social and
  biophysical dimensions of environmental
• But vulnerability means different things to
  different researchers.
• These different definitions are manifestations
  of different discourses that not only represent
  different approaches to science, but also
  different political responses to climate change.
• Can they be integrated?
Discourses and framings do matter. They
  influence the questions asked, the knowledge
  produced, and the policies and responses that
  are prioritized.

• Outcome vulnerability
• Contextual vulnerability.
• Outcome vulnerability: a linear result of the
  projected impacts of climate change on a
  particular exposure unit (biophysical or social),
  offset by adaptation measures.

• Contextual vulnerability: both climate
  variability and change are considered to occur
  in the context of political, institutional,
  economic and social structures and changes
  which interact dynamically.
• Climate change modifies biophysical
  conditions, which alter the context for
  responding to other processes of change: e.g.
  economic liberalization, political
  decentralization, the spread of epidemics.

• Reducing vulnerability (then) involves altering
  the context in which climate change occurs.
• These are two fundamentally different ways of
  framing the climate change problem.

• The first is depoliticised/technical.
• Scientific framings. Firm boundaries are drawn
  between nature and society, and focus is
  mainly on nature as part of the earth system.

  Vulnerability is the negative outcome of
  climate change on any unit, that can be
  quantified and measured, and reduced
  through technical measures as well as
  reducing greenhouse gases emissions.
• Human-security framings: may refer to more
  than food security or economic performance,
  and include e.g. a sense of belonging, respect,
  social and cultural heritage, equality and
  distribution of wealth, etc.
• Identifying conceptualisations of vulnerability.
  Each tends to lead to similar types of
  diagnoses and recommendations;

• Ref two studies in Mozambique, one of each
  kind: outcome, contextual:
• It is not explicit which conceptualization is
  used, but this can be identified.

•   Prioritized questions
•   Focal points
•   Methods
•   Identified results
•   Policy responses
• Vulnerability reduction may be rhetorically
  non-controversial, but what this means in
  practice depends on the interpretation of
• The definition of vulnerability affects the type
  of adaptation that is promoted, hence
  decisions on what, how and who to fund.
• Is it possible to reconcile these?
Quote Newell et al:

• “If the knowledge that we seek to integrate consists of
  disparate models of causality, then the integration process
  cannot be simply a matter of building a ‘shared language’.
  Single words take multiple meanings when different speakers
  have different models and examples in mind. We must be
  particularly wary of superficial approaches to developing
  ‘better communication’ that only appear to remove
  conceptual confusion—’[a] common language may still hide
  divergent assumptions’ “
There have been many attempts to integrate the
  two, but without much success.

‘Two cultures’?

Not exactly natural sciences vs. social sciences,
  but rather reductionist vs. holist approaches.
Economics is an example of the former, ecology
  of the latter.
• The dominance of the scientific framing of
  climate change has meant that the scope of
  adaptation policies has been interpreted quite

• Increased attention to the human-security
  framing of climate change may raise the
  relevance of climate change to broader
  communities and create a greater urgency for
  understanding the complexities of the system.
Thank you!

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