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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:

  1. What do we need to do differently and additionally in order to include climate change in DRR and disaster vulnerability analysis?

  2. Which tools of DRR can be modified and applied for CCA?

  3. What are threats and shortcomings of the current strategies and tools used in DRR and CCA?

  4. 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 early warning, relocation and migration, as well as improved urban development strategies. 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.

Downloads & Background

Programme EWG VII Meeting

A full report of the seventh EWG on Measuring Vulnerability Meeting will be developed in the next weeks and also be available for download here.

Please find here more information on the UNU-EHS EWG on Measuring Vulnerability.