GRF Davos 28th August 2014
Scenarios for Vulnerability and Risk
- Challenges and Applicability
PD Dr. Joern Birkmann
Head of Section / UNU-EHS
Introduction – Scenarios in CCA and DRR
• Scenarios have an analytic and a normative function.
• Scenario are important tools to think in pluralistic futures.
• Scenarios have been used already since decades,
however, their application was often - particularly in
sustainability science - limited to resource scenarios
(Limits of growth).
• Scenarios can range from quantitative to qualitative –
from global to local.
A changing climate leads to changes in extreme weather and
Source: IPCC 2012
Source: IPCC 2012 Socio-economic DEVELOPMENT PATHWAYS
the Role of Socio-Economic Developments
Scenarios for Vulnerability
Source: Birkmann, J.; Cutter, S.; Rothman, D.; Welle, T.; Garschagen, M.; van Ruijven, B.; O’Neill, B.;
Preston, B.; Kienberger , S.; Cardona, O.; Siagian, T.; Hidayati, D.; Setiadi, N.; Binder, C.; Hughes, B.;
Pulwarty, R. (2013) Scenarios for vulnerability: opportunities and constraints in the context of climate change
and disaster risk. Climatic Change (DOI 10.1007/s10584-013-0913-2)
• Need for vulnerability
• Differences are e.g.
expected in China
• Linking: vulnerability
research (IAV) with the
• Important player in a
global think tank network –
scenarios for adaptation
• Informs the IPCC AR5
Foto – Wasserstrassen Vietnam
From Global to
Garschagen; Schwab 2011
15 Source: Garschagen 2011,
Source: Birkmann et al. 2012 Schwab 2011
• Development Pathways and scenarios are important tools to
discuss future developments in risk and vulnerability
• Beside the development and use of scenarios for mitigation
policies, the IPCC is increasingly using scenarios also for
• Scenarios are a key tool to move risk and vulnerability assessment
from the analysis of past/present trends towards future trends.
• Scenario development at the local level can complement sub-national
and national scenario development.
UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY
Institute for Environment
and Human Security (UNU-EHS)
53113 Bonn, Germany
Phone: ++ 49 (0) 228 815-0208
Fax: ++ 49 (0) 228 815-0299