Climate change:
     vulnerability &
     adaptive capacity



      inroads to understanding

       Dr. Charles Ehrhart
...
regional impacts

       ‣       increasing temperatures

       ‣       changing rainfall patterns

       ‣       increa...
climate change in context

        ‣ negative synergies with other
               environmental changes

        ‣ + rapid...
adaptation

       “Adjustment in natural or human
       systems in response to actual or
       expected climatic stimul...
vulnerability




                                                                   Exposure


                          ...
adaptive capacity

        Human: Knowledge of climate risks,
        cons. agriculture skills, good health

        Socia...
adaptation vs. coping


                               Coping                                                             ...
Community-Based Adaptation (CBA)

       ‣ analysis of local vulnerability and
             adaptive capacity is crucial.....
ecosystems in the context of CBA

       ‣ Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EBA)
              ≠ Community-based adaptation (CB...
linking decision-makers at community and higher levels



       ‣ CBA processes must link with decision-
             mak...
resilience

        “The ability of a community to resist,
        absorb, and recover from the effects of
        hazards...
axes of action

       ‣        human condition: improving human
                development & quality of life

       ‣  ...
Te
                                      Text
                                                           Te
              ...
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Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity in the Mekong Region, 2010

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Climate change: vulnerability and adaptive capacity.

Presentation delivered at the "Mekong Environment and Climate Symposium," 26-27 April, 2010.

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Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity in the Mekong Region, 2010

  1. 1. Climate change: vulnerability & adaptive capacity inroads to understanding Dr. Charles Ehrhart CARE International Climate Change Coordinator ehrhart@careclimatechange.org www.careclimatechange.org 27th April, 2010 presentation to the Mekong Environment & Climate Symposium Tuesday, May 18, 2010 1
  2. 2. regional impacts ‣ increasing temperatures ‣ changing rainfall patterns ‣ increasing frequency & intensity of extreme weather ‣ shrinking glaciers ‣ (and, eventually, sea-level rise) Tuesday, May 18, 2010 2 Climate change presents additional obstacles to ending poverty and achieving social justice. Rising temperatures, increasingly erratic rainfall, and more frequent and severe floods, cyclones and droughts all have significant consequences for the livelihood security of poor people. Development professionals are seeing first-hand the effects of a changing climate on their work around the world.
  3. 3. climate change in context ‣ negative synergies with other environmental changes ‣ + rapidly growing populations... ‣ ... with limited room to maneuver ‣ ... dated frames of reference ‣ ... and weak cooperation between key stakeholders (levels & cross-border) Tuesday, May 18, 2010 3
  4. 4. adaptation “Adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities..” ‣ its a process ‣ must engage wide range of stakeholders at multiple levels ‣ requires analysis of current and future impacts ‣ requires an understanding of vulnerability Tuesday, May 18, 2010 4 Adaptation is defined as, “Adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.” The adaptation of human systems is a process that requires the engagement of a wide range of stakeholders at multiple levels and in multiple sectors. It requires analysis of current exposure to climate shocks and stresses, and model-based analysis of future climate impacts. It demands an understanding of the existing vulnerability of individuals, households, and communities. With this information, adaptation strategies can be designed and implemented. Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of activities, as well as sharing knowledge and lessons learnt, are critical components of the process.
  5. 5. vulnerability Exposure V. Adaptive Sensitivity Capacity Tuesday, May 18, 2010 5 In order to reduce people’s vulnerability to climate change, we must understand who is vulnerable to its effects and why. Then, we must apply this information to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities. CARE’s approach to climate change adaptation is grounded in the knowledge that people must be empowered to transform and secure their rights and their livelihoods. It also recognizes the critical role that local and national institutions, as well as public policies, play in shaping people’s adaptive capacity. Vulnerability to climate change has been defined as, “The degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate variation to which a system is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity.” Exposure to climate variation is primarily a function of geography. For example, coastal communities will have higher exposure to sea level rise and cyclones, while communities in semi-arid areas may be most exposed to drought. Sensitivity is the degree to which the community is affected by climatic stresses. A community dependent on rain-fed agriculture is much more sensitive than one where the main livelihood strategy is labour in a mining facility, for instance.
  6. 6. adaptive capacity Human: Knowledge of climate risks, cons. agriculture skills, good health Social: Women’s savings and loans groups, farmer-based organizations Physical: Irrigation infrastructure, seed and grain storage facilities Natural: Reliable water source, productive land Financial: Micro-insurance, diversified income sources Tuesday, May 18, 2010 6 In order to reduce vulnerability to climate change, we must focus on building adaptive capacity, particularly of the most vulnerable people; and, in some cases, on reducing exposure or sensitivity to climate impacts. Adaptive capacity is defined as, “The ability of a system to adjust to climate change (including climate variability and extremes) to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with the consequences.” One of the most important factors shaping the adaptive capacity of individuals, households and communities is their access to and control over natural, human, social, physical, and financial resources. Access to and control over the resources necessary for adaptation varies within countries, communities and even households. It is influenced by external factors such as policies, institutions and power structures. Adaptive capacity can vary over time based on changing conditions, and may differ in relation to particular hazards. In general, the world’s poorest people are also the most vulnerable to climate change. This is often because they have limited access to those resources that would facilitate adaptation. For instance, women are often particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to their responsibilities in the home and their limited access to information, resources and services. Other groups such as pastoralists, persons living with HIV&AIDS and the elderly may also represent highly vulnerable populations. The CVCA facilitates identification of vulnerable groups and targeting of adaptation strategies depending on the context.
  7. 7. adaptation vs. coping Coping Adaptation ‣ Short-term and immediate ‣ Oriented towards longer term livelihood security ‣ Oriented towards survival ‣ A continuous process ‣ Not continuous ‣ Results are sustained ‣ Motivated by crisis... reactive ‣ Uses resources efficiently and sustainably ‣ Often degrades resource base ‣ Involves planning ‣ Prompted by lack of alternatives ‣ Combines old & new strategies/knowledge ‣ Focused on finding alternatives Tuesday, May 18, 2010 7 The terms “adaptation” and “coping” are sometimes used interchangeably, leading to confusion about the similarities and differences in these two important concepts. The following lists of characteristics are a compilation of brainstorming sessions by groups of development practitioners in Ghana, Niger and Nepal.
  8. 8. Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) ‣ analysis of local vulnerability and adaptive capacity is crucial... ‣ ... as is recognition of differentiation between and within households ‣ building resilience must be “community-based” (i.e. “of” and “by” the people... not just “for”) ‣ growing number of tools and methodologies for community-level analysis and action planning (including CARE’s CVCA tool) Tuesday, May 18, 2010 8
  9. 9. ecosystems in the context of CBA ‣ Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EBA) ≠ Community-based adaptation (CBA) ‣ CBA puts communities at the centre of adaptation planning and action ‣ the adaptation of ecosystems has a important role to play in CBA Tuesday, May 18, 2010 9
  10. 10. linking decision-makers at community and higher levels ‣ CBA processes must link with decision- makers & decision-making processes at higher levels ‣ adaptation planning and finance must be participatory, transparent and accountable (PTA) Tuesday, May 18, 2010 10
  11. 11. resilience “The ability of a community to resist, absorb, and recover from the effects of hazards in a timely and efficient manner, preserving or restoring its essential basic structures, functions and identity” ‣ = ability to avoid damage and/or to bounce back ‣ resilience varies within households and communities Tuesday, May 18, 2010 11 Resilience can be defined as, “The ability of a community to resist, absorb, and recover from the effects of hazards in a timely and efficient manner, preserving or restoring its essential basic structures, functions and identity.” Resilience is a familiar concept in the context of disaster risk reduction (DRR), and is increasingly being discussed in the realm of adaptation. A resilient community is well-placed to manage hazards to minimize their effects and/or to recover quickly from any negative impacts, resulting in a similar or improved state as compared to before the hazard occurred. There are strong linkages between resilience and adaptive capacity; consequently, resilience also varies greatly for different groups within a community.
  12. 12. axes of action ‣ human condition: improving human development & quality of life ‣ social position: improving social equity & inclusive societies ‣ enabling environment: creating inclusive and accountable institutions Tuesday, May 18, 2010 12 In order to build resilience, it is necessary to: Improve Human Conditions: Support efforts to ensure that people’s basic needs are met and that they attain livelihood security with regard to such needs. Improve Social Positions: Support people’s efforts to take control of their lives and fulfill their rights, responsibilities and aspirations. Supporting efforts to end inequality and discrimination. Create a Sound Enabling Environment: Support efforts to create a sound enabling environment – public, private, civic and social institutions – that is responsive to, and inclusive of, constituents and that fosters just and equitable societies.
  13. 13. Te Text Te Text http://www.careclimatechange.org Text Text Tuesday, May 18, 2010 13

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