7th Expert Working Group on Measuring Vulnerability Meeting
From 21 to 22 October 2010 the 7th meeting of the UNU-EHS Expert Working Group (EWG) on Measuring Vulnerability took place on the UN Campus in Bonn. More
than 20 experts of the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) community and the Climate Change
Adaptation (CCA) community from Tanzania, USA, Peru, Canada, Colombia, Australia,
United Kingdom, Indonesia and Germany discussed the challenges and constraints
of linking DRR and CCA.
The meeting focused particularly on thefollowing questions:
What do we need to do differently and
additionally in order to include climate change in DRR and
disaster vulnerability analysis?
Which tools of DRR can
be modified and applied for CCA?
What are threats and shortcomings of the
current strategies and tools used in DRR and CCA?
Can communities adapt to extreme events? Or
are they solely adapting to trends and creeping changes?
Especially within the context of questions 2-4 issues around forced migration, involuntary relocation and
supported relocation were discussed. Additionally, strong emphasis was given to
the question how research-practice gaps could be overcome.
Trends of vulnerability
Various presentations of the experts showed
that the DRR community already accounts for climate change
related changes in the hazard intensity and frequency. Much
less has so far been developed on trends of vulnerability. Thus, CCA in the context of
disaster risk reduction needs to focus on extreme events, but at the same time
on trends and creeping processes. This means, beside the issue of vulnerability
to extreme events, which is currently a key topic within the Special Report “Managing the Risk of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change
Adaptation” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), linkages between changes in trends, extremes and creeping processes
need to be better understood and taken into
account when dealing with vulnerability assessment in the context of climate change.
Improvement of early warning systems needed
Other strategies and tools for DRR and CCA were also discussed within the EWG, such as
warning, relocation and migration, as well as improved urban development
The EWG underlined the need to improve current early warning systems that
primarily focus on the protection of live rather than on the protection of
assets and livelihoods. Particularly, in the context of climate change more
emphasis has to be given to early warning systems that allow to protect
livelihoods and livelihood assets.