Burundi: National and Local Vulnerability Assessments

The approach

The German-Burundian Project on Climate Change Adaptation seeks to support the Burundian Government in implementing appropriate adaptation measures and in mainstreaming climate change adaptation into policies and strategies at all levels. The vulnerability assessment forms an integral part of the national adaptation plan (NAP) process in Burundi.

Scope and entry points

Located in the heart of Africa, Burundi is a small landlocked country that ranks amongst the poorest countries in the world. More than 46% of the population suffers from hunger and the outlook remains critical. Burundi is a mountainous country with a tropical humid climate. One of the most profound challenges for the country however remains the very high level of population growth, presently at around 2.4–3.1% per annum. For a country that has already an extremely high population density (average of 310 inhabitants per km², and up to 500 per km² in the most densely populated areas), this poses enormous stress on its remaining natural resources. Latest climate change scenarios indicate significant increases in annual mean rainfall and temperature, extended dry spells and occurrence of extreme weather events. These parameters will further increase soil erosion – already a major problem today due to unsustainable agricultural practices – and will consequently further increase Burundi’s level of vulnerability.


How it works

The vulnerability assessment conducted in Burundi followed an 8-step approach outlined in GIZ’s Vulnerability Sourcebook. In addition to these steps, comprehensive and scientific modelling of climate change impacts for Burundi was conducted based on two scenarios: a more pessimistic view based on RCP 8.5 models and a moderate view based on RCP 4.5 models. The objective was to provide the Government of Burundi with reliable data and scenarios in order to be able to adapt to those. The vulnerability assessment was conducted for three timelines: status quo in 2014, 2030-2060 and 2070-2100.
One of the key challenges at the onset of the work was related to difficulties in gathering relevant data. Burundi being a postwar country, most government archives are in disorder and documents and information are patchy. In addition, data were often in the hands of individuals only (at government or project level). Another challenge was the lack of data at local level. Often aggregated data were only available at national and provincial level, making it difficult to develop clear messages for the community at smallest administration levels.
Accompanying the entire process, four national workshops were organized with all relevant stakeholders. These allowed participants (government and civil society) to better understand the process and to share their views and expertise on the subject. In addition, an expert group was created to advise and steer the process. Members of this expert group were chosen based on their expertise in order to facilitate data acquisition and to ensure ownership of the process. After the workshops the expert group was consulted to decide on open questions and to define further steps.


Specifics of application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set-up

Commissioned by the German-Burundian Climate Change Adaptation project in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Water, Land and Urban Planning and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the vulnerability assessment at national level was conducted by an expert team from three different institutions, namely (1) adelphi, (2) EURAC research, and (3) the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). All results were regularly mirrored in an expert group comprising experts from various sectors and institutions from Burundi. Concerning the vulnerability assessments at local level, relevant stakeholders were the local administration as well as the habitants of the relevant zones.
Activities started in November 2013 and lasted for about 11 months. One determining factor for the lengthy process was the development of scientific models based on climate change scenarios for Burundi; another factor was the process to gather all relevant data and information necessary to conduct a comprehensive vulnerability assessment.

  • Input

As indicated above, the vulnerability assessment was conducted by three different institutions (adelphi, EURAC, PIK) in close collaboration with the GIZ Project on Climate Change Adaptation and its partners. Key for the process was the technical expert group and the regular exchange with a larger group of stakeholders in different workshops. Especially the creation of the expert group constituted of experts from various Burundian ministries and institutions with the purpose of mirroring and discussing results and next steps was pivotal to create ownership for both the process itself and its results. This approach however applies to the vulnerability assessment at national level only. The activities at local level in the identified intervention zones were carried out in close collaboration with local governmental and non-governmental actors as well as the local population in the respective zones. National and local data were gathered from various ministries, government institutions, projects and donors.


  • Output

Three highly visual outputs of the vulnerability assessment at national level were created in the form of vulnerability maps for the three factors erosion, drought and malaria prevalence.
Based on these maps and in close consultation with the expert group, highly vulnerable areas or so called “vulnerability hotspots” were identified to guide the identification of three pilot watersheds where the project will plan and implement adaptation measures for the protection of soil and water resources with the communes and communities. A list of criteria and indicators was established in order to reduce the initially long list of potential sites.

In the three identified watersheds, local vulnerability assessments were then conducted with the objective to identify the challenges when it comes to climatic impacts on the soil and water resources and to identify jointly with the local population appropriate adaptation measures to be implemented by the project.

A number of publications summarize the findings:
1) Climate Change Report for Burundi (English and French)
2) Analyse intégrée de la Vulnérabilité au Burundi – Introduction et Analyse Intégrée de Vulnérabilité face au changement climatique au niveau national (French)
3) Analyse de Vulnérabilité au niveau local (French)
4) Méthodologie détaillée de l’Analyse de Vulnérabilité nationale (French)
5) National vulnerability maps for erosion, drought and malaria

  • Capacity required and ease of use

For the preparation of climate change scenarios, sound scientific expertise is required. Conducting a vulnerability assessment was done for the first time in Burundi, which is why little experience was available to build on. However, a number of resource persons were available, contributing to the success of this work and building their knowledge and capacities on vulnerability to climate change.

Conclusions for future application

  • Outcome and added value

The results of the vulnerability assessment form the basis for mainstreaming climate change adaptation into national and local policies, strategies and investment plans. While the German-Burundian Climate Change Adaptation project will be able to pilot adaptation measures in three little watersheds, other actors may use this experience and information for the identification of highly vulnerable zones that merit attention in the selection process of appropriate adaptation measures.

  • Potential for replication

The methodology used for the vulnerability assessment in Burundi is based on a standardized approach outlined in GIZ’s Vulnerability Sourcebook. This allows for the replication of this approach, which is of special importance when it comes to the monitoring and evaluation of results of adaptation measures. In future it is very likely that developing countries will be able to mobilize funds for conducting vulnerability assessments from different international climate finance mechanisms. This makes this approach highly interesting and valuable.


GIZ (2014). The Vulnerability Sourcebook – Concept and guidelines for standardized vulnerability assessments.

GIZ (2014). Analyse intégrée de la vulnérabilité au Burundi. Volume I: Introduction et Analyse Intégrée de Vulnérabilité face au changement climatique au niveau national, Burundi: GIZ.

GIZ (2014). Analyse intégrée de la Vulnérabilité au Burundi. Volume II: Analyse de Vulnérabilité au niveau local, Burundi: GIZ.

GIZ (2014). Analyse intégrée de la Vulnérabilité au Burundi. Volume III: Méthodologie détaillée de l’Analyse de Vulnérabilité nationale, Burundi: GIZ.

GIZ (2014). Climate Change Projections for Burundi. A Summary for Policy Makers, Burundi: GIZ


For further information please contact:

Juliane Wiesenhuetter, Projet “Adaptation au Changement Climatique pour la protection des ressources en Eau et Sol“ (ACCES), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, E-mail: juliane.wiesenhuetter@giz.de.

South Africa: Vulnerability assessment at District level

Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Namakwa District Municipality (NDM) in the Northern Cape of South Africa

The method

A Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment is a method of assessing possible impacts of future climate change upon the people and the environment in a specific area. In this case the method was applied to the Namakwa District Municipality (NDM), which is located in the arid Northern Cape of South Africa. The vulnerability of the NDM’s biodiversity and ecology, its people and its institutions to climate change was assessed.

Scope and entry points

The ecological, socio-economic and institutional vulnerability indices produced through the assessment highlight areas where impacts may be the most severe and which are therefore important for decision making at the district level, e.g. for the setting of adaptation priorities in the NDM.

At higher levels, the Vulnerability Assessment also supports and is informed by the Northern Cape’s provincial climate change adaptation plan, and will also link to future Long Term Adaptation Scenarios currently being developed under the National Climate Change Response White Paper for South Africa.

How it works

The Vulnerability Assessment followed three data gathering steps:

  1. Projected climatic changes for the NDM were detailed (for temperature, rainfall, sea level, storm intensity, fog and CO2 concentration) based on existing data and downscaled statistical modelling for the area. Best and worst case scenarios were used as well as an intermediate scenario. The study used medium term data (for 2050), which is a compromise between the uncertainty of long term projections (2100) and the small changes estimated by shorter duration projections (e.g. 2020).
  2. The sensitivity of the NDM’s ecosystems and the Succulent Karoo biome to climate change was assessed through a review of existing studies. Impacts on the people of the area were also considered, with an emphasis on the existing challenges they are facing.
  3. The NDM’s ecological, socio-economic and institutional adaptive capacities were assessed through knowledge of the area, a desk study of current adaptation measures to climate change and other existing stresses, and through consultations with stakeholders and experts.

The above three steps produced data to estimate vulnerability indicators shown in table 1 on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 representing the lowest and 5 the highest vulnerability (for a detailed description of the indicators and their development see the full technical report under references).

For the NDM, the following results were obtained: an ecological vulnerability index of 3.85 (medium-high), a socio-economic vulnerability index of 3.8 (medium-high), and an institutional vulnerability index of 3.0 (medium), yielding an overall vulnerability index of 3.5 (medium-high). This figure allows for a comparison with other areas facing similar climate change impacts.

Based on information gathered in the assessment process, a map identifying priority areas for Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) was produced in consultation with the district officials and broader stakeholders to determine areas where EbA would be feasible and benefit the most vulnerable. EbA is the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services to help people adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. The next stage is to make recommendations for priority actions and the allocation of resources.

Specifics of application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set-up

The Vulnerability Assessment was carried out by a partnership of organizations led by Conservation South Africa, an affiliate of Conservation International. The other project partners were the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, and Conservation International. Each organization provided different expertise. Conservation South Africa has been working in the NDM for 13 years and holds local biodiversity, ecosystem and socio-economic knowledge; SANBI’s climate change scientists are experts in their field and have focused much of their research on the NDM; the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University provided expertise on spatial planning, mapping ecosystem resilience and EbA priority areas; and lastly Conservation International provided guidance in the Vulnerability Assessment method.

  • Input

The assessment took one year (part-time) to complete (including the production of communication materials). The method is resource intensive in that it requires climate models; yet if these models are available, the method is reasonably easy to use as long as there is support and leadership from the local community and municipality. In brief, the following resources were required:

– A committed and supportive stakeholder group, including municipality and local  community champions for the process

– Services of climate scientists and a spatial planner/GIS expert

– Climate models for temperature and rainfall (obtained from SANBI’s Climate System Analysis Group and the National CSIR)

– Good spatial data to inform climate sensitivity assessment e.g. landscape gradients, high biodiversity areas, poverty nodes, communal lands, settlements in wetlands or flood plains etc.

– Current or historical data on climate related disasters – droughts, floods, storms, preferably with a spatial dimension (the district was also doing disaster risk reduction planning at the time)

-Information on the state of the environment – threats, challenges, current land uses

– Socio-economic baseline data that is fairly site specific (e.g. demographics, levels of education, poverty etc).

– An understanding of local government structures, roles and responsibilities.

– A Project coordinator and support from CSA’s policy and communication teams, all part time on the project.

– Communications materials and workshop materials.

There was substantial support from partners and local government for the assessment and we were able to access all the information that we needed. The large distance that stakeholders and scientists needed to travel to attend the workshops was a challenge.

  • Output

The vulnerability assessment provided a collection of climate change projection maps for temperature and rainfall in the NDM (based on existing climate models) as well as a qualitative report on sensitivity and adaptive capacity including the described vulnerability indices.

  • Capacity required and ease of use

The vulnerability assessment was based on a significant pool of climate change data and modelling that had been previously carried out for the area. The assessment was also based on expert opinion and peer-reviewed papers on the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the NDM to projected climatic changes. If these scientific resources are available, as in this case, then a lot of the information for the vulnerability assessment can be relatively easily collated in a desk study. If the scientific data and information is not already available, then it needs to be collected by climate change scientists, requiring expertise, funds and time. The stage of gathering information and scoring parameters for the vulnerability indices needs to be carried out in close collaboration with the municipality and local stakeholders which can be a time-consuming process.

Conclusions for future application

  • Outcome and added value

The vulnerability assessment provides an understanding and a comparable analysis of the NDM’s vulnerability to climate change. It is the foundation for making recommendations for priority actions and the allocation of resources to most effectively reduce vulnerability. The assessment is therefore essential in climate change adaptation decision-making at the local and district level, and also allows for measuring reduced vulnerability over time to see whether efforts by government and other stakeholders have been effective.

  • Cost-benefit ratio

The vulnerability assessment was a cost-effective method due to readily available information and connection to stakeholder workshops around disaster risk management which were already underway. However, if the climate change data had not been available, the project would have been significantly more expensive. It can be even more cost-effective where dedicated staff is already in place.

  • Potential for replication

The described vulnerability assessment method is applicable to a wide range of contexts, yet the vulnerability indicators may need to be modified if circumstances differ. The method does require a solid foundation of socio-economic and environmental information as well as climate data and scientific expertise. As more detailed information on the impacts of climate change is produced, such as the research programme of the Long Term Adaptation Scenarios[TL5]  being developed for South Africa currently, the method will become easier to replicate. A crucial feature of the method is its involvement of local stakeholders and connection to political processes, both of which need to be ensured for successful replication.


The full Technical Report Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Namakwa District Municipality is available online:


Please contact Amanda Bourne at a.bourne@conservation.org for more information.

Method references:

Bartlett, R. S Freeman, J Cook, B Dongol, R Sherchan, M Shrestha, and P McCornick. 2011. Freshwater Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment: The Indrawati Sub-Basin, Nepal. Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Report NI R 11-07.

R. Boquiren, G. Di Carlo, and M.C. Quibilan (Eds). 2010. Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of the Verde Island Passage, Philippines. Technical report. Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Davies, R.A.G., S.J.E. Midgley, and S Chesterman. One World Sustainable Investments. 2010. Risk and Vulnerability Mapping for Southern Africa: Status Quo (2008) and Future (2050). Draft Research Report for the Regional Climate Change Programme: Southern Africa, Department for International Development.

Larrea and G. Di Carlo (Eds). 2010. Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of the Galápagos Islands. WWF and Conservation International, USA.

Mohan, Divya, and Shirish Sinha. 2010. Vulnerability Assessment of People, Livelihoods, and Ecosystems in the Ganga Basin. Report, WWF-India

Other references that may be of interest are:

Department of Social Development. 2009. Possible Effects and Impact of Climate Change on Human Settlements and Population Development in the Northern Cape. DSD, Development and Research, Population Development, Kimberley

Hoffman, M.T., Carrick, P.J., Gillson, L., west, A.G. 2009. Drought, climate chance and vegetation response in the succulent karoo, South Africa. South Africa Journal of Science 105:54-60.

Midgley, GF., and W Thuiller. 2007. ‘Potential vulnerability of Namaqualand plant diversity to anthropogenic climate change’ in Journal of Arid nvironments:doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2006.11.020

Rutherford, MC, GF Midgley, WJ Bond, LW Powrie, R Roberts & J Allsopp. 2000 ‘Plant biodiversity: vulnerability and adaptation assessment’ in G. Kiker Climate change impacts in southern Africa. Report to the National Climate Change Committee, Department of Environment Affairs and Tourism, Pretoria, forming part of the South African Country Study on Climate Change which contributed to South Africa’s Initial National Communication to the UNFCCC.

Author: Conservation South Africa

Date: March 2013

Philippines: Compendium of Climate Change Vulnerability and Impact Assessment Tools

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Recognizing the Philippines’ vulnerability to climate change, the Climate Change Commission (CCC), with support from GIZ, has prepared a compendium of climate change vulnerability and impact assessment tools which can be used by local government units in addressing climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction concerns. It is envisioned that through this compendium, local governments will be able to integrate adaptation into their land use and development plans and implement them with high hopes that climate change impacts will not bring damaging effects to lives, properties, public infrastructure, economic gains and present and future investments.

Each Vulnerability and Impact Assessment Tool in the compendium is described according to the outline of the Method Briefs.

Mexico: Cost-benefit analysis for prioritising climate change adaptation measures

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Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is a tool for comparing the costs and benefits of a project or measure in monetary terms and so help improve the allocation of public resources. This is relevant for decision-making, since budget constraints do not allow all institutions or individuals to implement all actions proposed. In the past few years CBA has been increasingly discussed as a tool for evaluating adaptation projects and measures.

Scope and entry points

In its recent climate change law as well as its National Climate Change Strategy, the Mexican Government expressed the need to mitigate and adapt to climate change. As adaptation is identified as a priority at the national and subnational levels, there is a need to develop tools to assist in decision-making processes. As the lead organisation in the sector, the Mexican Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) is working together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in developing and piloting a methodology for prioritising climate change adaptation measures using multi-criteria analyses (MCAs) and CBAs within three pilot sectors: irrigated agriculture, water, and forests within natural protected areas. The MCA is used for a pre-selection of adaptation measures. Measures that are deemed suitable based on the MCA are scrutinised in more detail in the CBA (see this method brief on the MCA methodology used in Mexico).

How it works

CBA compares the costs and benefits of an adaptation measure or project expressed in monetary terms. This comparison can demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of an adaptation investment for decision-makers.

When conducting a CBA, one must first agree on the adaptation objective and establish whether it can be quantified in monetary terms (e.g. reduced rehabilitation costs in case of flooding). Defining an adaptation objective helps determine what exactly is being evaluated and the information needed to obtain the results. This adaptation objective cannot be determined decoupled from its context; it should be defined based on the relevant climate change impacts identified as well as the vulnerability in the region under study, which form the basis of the design of an adaptation measure.

After defining the objective, it is essential to define the baseline scenario that will help to evaluate the costs and benefits of adaptation without taking action compared to the costs and benefits of implementing an adaptation project or action. Both costs and benefits should be assessed as being either direct or indirect. Benefits should also include avoided damages and co-benefits of the actions to be evaluated. One of the most important challenges of CBAs is obtaining a quantifiable measure of intangible costs and benefits. These can be evaluated and qantified through non-market-based approaches (e.g. contingent valuation, etc.).

Aggregating costs and benefits allows computing the net present value (NPV), which is the difference between costs and benefits considering the present value of money, to be determined. The final NPV gives decision-makers an indicator as to which project(s) can be more effective for each dollar invested. The higher the NPV is, the more effective the project is, while a negative NPV represents an ineffective project, and, based on this economic valuation, one which should not be implemented. For more details on the CBA methodology see also Economic approaches for assessing climate change adaptation options under uncertainty.

In the described application of the CBA in Mexco, the benefits and costs were listed and systematised while simultaneously selecting a baseline scenario (i.e. the costs and benefits of not adapting to climate change). The data was validated with the experts at the respective ministries. All of the assumptions on e.g. discount rate, time horizon, investments, taxes, etc. are also stated in a final document so as to make the analysis clear and transparent.

All data was collected in an Excel-tool showing the NPV and other results clearly arranged for the decision makers. The tool allows carrying out a sensitivity analysis by changing the parameters (interest rate, estimated costs, estimated benefits, etc.). Finally, the final worksheet will contain an application to perform a Monte Carlo analysis to assess risk and estimate intervals for different scenarios.

Specifics of application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set-up

Several stakeholders, including the Ministry of Environment (SEMARNAT) and its independent bodies the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) and the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), as well as government and academic consultants, were involved in preparing steps 1 to 3. In May 2013 a workshop was held for implementing steps 4 to 7. Representatives from CONANP, CONAFOR, the National Institute for the Environment and Climate Change (INECC), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the National Commission for Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) and SEMARNAT participated in the workshop. With support from GIZ, CONANP and CONAFOR are leading the process of developing the tool.

  • Input

Conducting a CBA is a complex process and requires several types of resources. First of all, considerable time is needed to gather the data for analysing the costs and benefits. In the case of unreliable data on the costs or benefits of an adaptation measure, extra time is spent on analysing additional sources or even computing the missing values.

If an institution is not familiar with using CBA, it might be necessary to hire an external expert to do the initial analysis. The budget for conducting a CBA will vary according to the number of measures for which the CBA has been developed.

In addition, several workshops have to be held. For instance to agree on the assumptions and the choice of adaptation measures to be analysed, among other things. Methodology trainings need to be developed and conducted together with the relevant institutions in order to institutionalise the CBA. Such a process can take several months. In the case of Mexico, it took four months to complete the methodology and apply it on the three pilot sectors.

  • Output

The final product is an Excel sheet, which serves as the main tool in carrying out the CBA for the selected measures in the three pilot sectors. It can be adapted for additional measures in the future and in other sectors. The tool is accompanied by a how-to manual, including tips for interpreting the results.

  • Capacity required and ease of use

In general, those conducting a CBA need to have knowledge or training in economics or finance since they need to understand the logic behind the analysis and the data and information requested. They also need to be capable of interpreting the following components of the results: NPV, internal rate of return (IRR), cost-benefit index and cost-effectiveness index. Some familiarity with Monte Carlo analysis is needed to interpret the results of that analysis, which is also included in the Excel tool used for the CBA. Even though the Excel tool looks simple and a manual was developed on how to use it, the person conducting the analysis needs to have intermediate knowledge of Excel.

  • Conclusions for future application

Outcome, added value and cost-benefit ratio are to be assessed at a later stage.

Potential for replication

The challenges identified in performing a CBA for climate change adaptation are:

  • Uncertainty of future impacts: the potential impacts of climate hazards are uncertain, and the benefits of adaptation actions are therefore also uncertain. Additionally, the limited information that exists on climate change and appropriate adaptation actions hinders the ability to correctly account for the costs and benefits.
  • Taking account of benefits: Although it can be assumed that the benefits of climate change adaptation actions are tangible and measurable, not all of them are obvious and their true benefits might be difficult to quantify in monetary terms.
  • Temporal effects: While a project has a specific time frame for its implementation, the effects (which can be measured in costs and benefits in the future) are not always evident and easy to assess, especially at the beginning of a project that is yet to be implemented.
  • Expert knowledge and/or support: Although the Excel tool that was developed for this CBA is straightforward and accessible, it is recommended that those who apply the analysis are familiar with CBA. 


  • GIZ (2007): Economic Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation and their Role in Project Prioritisation and Appraisal. Eschborn.


Madagascar: Vulnerability Assessment in Boeny

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A vulnerability assessment was conducted in the Boeny region of northwestern Madagascar that brought together a desk study and local knowledge on the impacts of climate change. The purpose was to identify vulnerabilities of the major regional ecosystems (dry forests, mangroves, and lacustrine ecosystems) and the natural resource-dependent population to climate change and other risk factors, and to define possible adaptation measures that are to be integrated into local land use and forest management plans.

Scope and entry points

Madagascar’s unique biodiversity makes it one of the world’s ‘hotspots’ being increasingly exposed to the risk of climate change along with most of the island’s population, which is greatly dependent on natural resources. In this context, the German-Malagasy Environment Programme seeks to integrate adaptation measures derived from the vulnerability assessment into forest and protected area management plans as well as land use planning. The key function of this regional vulnerability assessment was to identify adaptation needs related to socio-economic and ecological vulnerabilities with the objective of improving the resilience of the local communities.

How it works

The assessment brought together local knowledge (field study) and scientific knowledge (desk study) regarding exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. In Madagascar, available data on climate change and adaptation mainly refer to the national level, as existing meteorological stations do not allow for monitoring of local temperatures or rainfall patterns. In order to draw an exhaustive picture of the degree of social and ecological vulnerability it was therefore necessary to integrate local perceptions into the analysis.

While the desk study concentrated on existing documents and data on historical, current and projected climate change, the field study enabled integration of local perceptions on climate change gathered in 12 local communities in the Boeny region. Three different instruments were used over the course of the consultation process for the field study. Firstly, three focus group discussions were conducted in each community, involving representatives from the local population, local authorities (the mayor, councillors and elders, etc.) and the main local income-generating activities (agriculture, fishery and stock breeding, etc.). Tools used to facilitate the focus group discussions included participatory mapping, seasonal calendars and compilation of historical profiles and vulnerability matrices.

Secondly, 15 individual interviews were conducted in each community to obtain quantitative data on local livelihoods and the impacts of climate change. Finally, one narrative interview was conducted in each community with a representative of the elder population to obtain information on historical events and past variations in climate conditions.

Stages of the integrated vulnerability assessment

The results yielded by the field study and the desk study were presented at a regional workshop in which all relevant stakeholders (local communities, administration and civil society) participated. The main objective of the workshop was to identify adaptation measures, so working groups were organised around the three main sectors identified in the field study: forestry, fishery and agriculture. Each group discussed the following aspects over the two-day workshop:

Discussion topics during the workshop.

The results are to be integrated into forest management plans, protected area management plans and land use planning.

Specifics of application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set-up

Commissioned by the German-Malagasy Environment Programme in collaboration with the regional direction of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MEF), the vulnerability assessment was conducted by two expert teams. While an association of consultants was in charge of the consultation processes in the 12 local communities, two university researchers conducted the desk study.

  • Input

Time: Starting with elaboration of the methodology for the field study in May 2013, the whole process took about four and a half months. The final report was submitted in September 2013.

Personnel: The vulnerability assessment required the collaboration of two university researchers for the desk study and preparation of the final document, two consultants in charge of designing and managing the field study, as well as nine field interviewers for the consultation process (focus groups and interviews) in 12 local communities.

Data: National and regional climate data and projections were obtained from the Directorate-General of Meteorology. Socio-economic data specific to the Boeny region that had been collected by the National Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) were also used for the assessment.

Funds: The vulnerability assessment entailed personnel costs for the consultants and researchers in charge of the field and desk studies as well as costs for organising the regional workshop (about 50 participants). Including occasional transfers of one staff member to the Boeny region to supervise and mentor the local team, study costs amounted to about EUR 17,000.

  • Output

The final report of the vulnerability assessment includes:

  • A synthesis of past climatic changes and future projections for Madagascar and the Boeny region
  • An evaluation of the impacts of climate change and the adaptive capacity of ecosystems and the local population in Boeny
  • A presentation of existing adaptation measures and the role of ecosystem services
  • A list of appropriate adaptation measures per sector (forestry, agriculture, and fishery) aimed at reducing the vulnerability of the target groups.
  • Capacity required and ease of use

While the field study mostly requires skills in the field of participatory rural appraisals (focus group discussions and interviews), more specific expertise with regard to climate change and ecosystem services is needed for the desk study. However, resource persons in charge of the field study should have at least a basic knowledge of climate trends and ecosystems as well as analytical skills to ensure appropriate treatment of the collected data.

Conclusions for future application

  • Outcome and added value

The results of the vulnerability assessment are to be used to integrate the issue of climate change and appropriate adaptation measures into forest and protected area management plans as well as land use planning. While the German-Malagasy Environment Programme seeks to finance some of the adaptation measures, local stakeholders will be able to utilise their land use and management plans to attract further public or private funding for the implementation of climate adaptation activities.

  • Cost-benefit ratio

About 75% of the costs for the regional vulnerability assessment went to funding the staff in charge of the field and desk studies, including their transfers to and within the Boeny region as well as costs for accommodations and per diem payments. In view of the size of the region and the number of local communities involved in the assessment, the costs for the field study were reasonable. However, it is questionable whether two university researchers were necessary for the desk study.

The regional workshop accounted for about 26% of total costs of the vulnerability assessment. The mobilised funds did not exceed those used for other regional workshops, for example in the context of elaborating the National Adaptation Plan (NAP).

  • Potential for replication

The methodologies used for the desk study and the field study both offer high potential for replication. Apart from German development cooperation, a number of organisations (for example WWF, CARE, and Tearfund) have described the various consultation tools used in this vulnerability study in guidebooks available online. These can be easily studied and replicated by field study teams.

With regard to the desk study, the depth of analysis depends mostly on the availability of documents and data at the national and regional level.


– CEDRA: Evaluation des risques et de l’adaptation au changement climatique et la dégradation de l’environnement, Tearfund, 2009.

– Integrating adaptation measures into forest management, GIZ, 2012.

– Local vulnerability and adaptation assessment in rural communities. Guidelines for assessing local knowledge about adaptation to climate change in the process of municipality development planning (PCD) in the Far North of Cameroon, GIZ, 2013.

– Manuel d’analyse de la vulnérabilité et de la capacité d’adaptation au Changement Climatique, CARE, 2009.

– Outil communautaire: Témoin du climat – Climate Witness, WWF-Programme du Pacifique Sud et adapté par WWF MWIOPO, 2009.

For further information please contact:

Paula Becker, Technical Advisor, Programme Germano-Malgache pour l’Environnement (PGM-E), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, E-mail: paula.becker@giz.de.

Tunisia: Mainstreaming adaptation into local development planning

Drafting participatory development plans at community level while considering climate change


In Tunisia an approach that integrates adaptation to Climate Change (CC) in local participatory planning was implemented, while considering the relevant aspects in terms of CC at various stages of the process. The initiative started in 2010 in Tunisia with all the stakeholders working on participatory planning at the community level (PDPC) in 13 governorates.

Scope and entry points

Since many years, Tunisia has adopted a participatory and integrated approach that involves concerned communities when implementing natural resource management programmes. The majority of development projects carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture or by organisations under its administration use local participatory planning methods, which do not explicitly address CC aspects. Adapting planning methods by introducing appropriate tools to analyse the vulnerability of local communities to the impacts of CC, within the context of drafting the future PDPC, will allow the identification of activities oriented to increase the resilience of natural resources and to improve the adaptation capacities of these populations.

How it works

The planning method was adapted through a consultation process with the actors who work in local planning.

Development stages of the PDPC

The adjustments do not change the sequence of the stages but represent an increase in information and a diversification of perspectives for the analysis. They contribute to assessing the vulnerability and adaptation capacity of the local population. They also help identify mitigation and adaptation measures and activities aimed at preserving the ecosystem’s production capacities, as well as the population’s livelihoods.


Type of adjustment

Modified/added tools

Identification and prioritisation of planning units (PU) (stage 1) 

Integrating the following into the priority criteria: the choice of the intervention zone (PU), the importance of impacts and the risks of CC to the means of existence of populations

Updating the criteria grid and the regional planning dashboard

Data collection and technical pre-diagnosis (stage 4)

Additional data collection about the local/regional climate context and its impacts on natural and socio-cultural systems;

Preliminary analysis of the degradation status of resources (soil, water, vegetation) from the CC impact point of view

Data sheet on CC impacts for the multidisciplinary team and climate data collection sheet;

Elaboration of a CC matrix indicating: the events that have impacted the region in general and the zone (PU) as well as foreseeable CC risks and their observed/expected impacts on the populations livelihoods, on infrastructures, on ecosystems and on various resources

Additional data collection and community pre-diagnosis (stage 5)

Analysis of  socio-economic and environmental impacts with the population committee;

Discussing actions/measures to be taken respectively by the community and the technical departments to mitigate these impacts and about future changes in the practices considered by the population

Historical profile of the main climate events that have marked the collective memory by their impact, and of their recurrence periods.


Complement to the CC matrix

Participative diagnostic and identification of actions (stage 6)

The action identification approach takes into account the response to CC (adaptation/mitigation measures);

Inclusion in the examination of the pre-feasibility of the proposed actions to the  CC-linked risk criterion with regards to their impact environment and sustainability

Inclusion in the calendar composed of activities (farm and non-farm) of constraints, linked to the climate context and to the degradation of natural resources and of production ecosystems (limiting production and profitability of activities that threaten the population’s means of existence);

Inclusion of the criteria in the matrix by component providing data and information about the various aspects of the pre-feasibility examination

Examination of the feasibility of actions and prioritisation of actions (stage 7) Introduction of the relevance criterion for the preservation of the population’s means of existence and the protection of infrastructure and of ecosystems

Introduction of the criterion in the prioritisation matrix

Documentation of the PDPC (stage 10)

Documenting of adaptation / mitigation measures

Introduction into the presentation standard canvas of a local development plan

Table: Adjustments to the elaboration stages of PDPC

Specifics of application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set-up

The adaptation of the local participatory planning method has mobilised the involved officers on the ground and in the central structures of the Office de Développement Sylvo-Pastoral du Nord-Ouest, under the natural resources management project (in three governorates, piloted by the regional commission for agricultural development), of the ‘Frame Financing for the Management of Catchment Basins’ project (in ten governorates, piloted by the regional commissions for agricultural development) and the integrated management of forests II project .

This approach is maintained throughout the process. The CC/GIZ project plays a facilitating role. During the test phase on the ground, the population representatives (local development committees, agricultural development interest groups, representatives of different interest groups) are also involved in finalising the method adjustment, just like other stakeholders (mainly at the level of local and regional authorities).

  • Input

The most important input consists in obtaining current ground data. Data on climate are often non-existent or not easily accessible. The time for applying the method (elaboration of a PDPC) depends on the complexity of the PU. On average the process requires 2 to 3 months. Introducing modifications which take account of CC significantly increase this duration. The organisations involved have the required internal expertise (planning, multidisciplinary technical team); however a rapid skills upgrading is required (brief additional training).

  • Output

The adapted method is described in a manual. The ground tests should lead to PDPC ‘templates’, integrating CCA, which illustrate the application.

  • Capacities required and ease of use

Capacities are inherent to the practice of local participatory planning. They mainly concern:

    • Setting up a multidisciplinary participatory planning team with experience in drafting PDPC. Adaptation to CC requires a rapid skills upgrade for these planning teams.
    • Ensure the involvement of stakeholders (within the various involved parties) with willingness and capacity to cooperate.
    • Set up a database at the level of the PU which is reliable and covers a sufficient period.

Furthermore, in order to ensure the implementation of the PDPC, links should be made between regional planning (decentralisation) and the sectoral planning of the various stakeholders.

Conclusions for future applications

  • Outcome and added value

The application of the method enables the production of PDPCs that are more resilient to CC. They also allow for better opportunities to attract available financing, at international level, within the context of the framework convention on CC and designed to help developing countries adapt better to CC impacts (bankable projects that could be financed mainly through the funds earmarked for adaptation).

  • Cost-benefit ratio

This ratio can be considered positive. The benefits generated in considering CC and improving development actions are highly significant given the few additional costs incurred by the acquisition of new data and the skills upgrade of the planning teams.

  • Potential for replication

The limiting factors in adopting the method are as follows:

    • The fact that applying these planning methods very often stops at the end of a project. The participatory and integrated approach is being institutionalised (mainly through the PGRNII project). However, the process is slow and is handicapped by the country’s politically unstable context.
    • The absence of a capitalisation system and information and data dissemination pertaining to various environmental aspects at local/regional level.
    • The current need to sensitise and inform decision-makers about CC in order to motivate them to factor this risk into planning at various levels.

Another condition is the confirmation of a move towards the decentralised planning of national development (see the strategy for improving governance and local development in Tunisia (MDRP – November 2012). Indeed, the PDPC financing largely depends on their integration in regional planning.

In Tunisia, there are approximately 20 projects directly involved in local development and/or natural resource management. This presents opportunities for the application/ replication of the method.

Local technicians have significant expertise (particularly in fighting desertification) and research outcomes have been applied within the context of certain development projects. They have demonstrated their potential for adaptation to CC. This represents an asset for identifying adaptation measures to CC (the case of direct sowing, conservation agriculture).

Reference persons and further information


– Report of the brainstorming workshop organised in Béja for the elaboration of a methodology considering climate change in local participatory planning at community level – June 2010 (CCC/GIZ project, ODESYPANO)

– Taking stock of local participatory planning experiences: elaboration of community participatory development plans – Abderrahmane Ben Boubaker – August 2011 (CCC/GIZ project – Ministry of Environment)

– Report on the summary workshop for considering climate change in the local participatory planning process at the community level – Abderrahmane Ben Boubaker – December 2011 (CCC/GIZ project – Ministry of Environment)

– Elaboration manual on participatory development plans at the community level, while considering climate change – Abderrahmane Ben Boubaker – December 2011 (CCC/GIZ project – Ministry of Environment)

Reference persons

Tunisia: Climate proofing a farm production system

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Climate Proofing of the Agriculture, Forestry and Livestock Production System at the Saouef Farm


The Climate Proofing (CP) methodology used for the Saouef farm in Zaghouan, Tunisia, is adapted from the Climate Proofing approach developed by GIZ. It is a systematic analysis of risks caused by climate change and for suggesting appropriate adaptation measures. It was implemented in 2011 in order to take account of the climate change dimension when planning farm activities (dedicated to sheep breeding and to fodder seed production).

Scope and entry points

The overall aim was to apply the method at local level (project, action plan). The entry point for integrating adaptation measures into the farm management plan was the revision of the farm management plan that mainly focuses on agriculture, forestry and livestock production systems. The method was implemented at the request of the Office de l’Elevage et des Pâturages (OEP) in October 2011. The resulting model can be replicated in similar regions.

How it works

The method was implemented with OEP officials and farm managers, within a training/action workshop, during which the methodology and tools were presented and practically applied to the situation of the farm. This covered the first two stages of CP (see figure below), which were simplified in order to facilitate their use. The process has been partly completed, for a limited number of exposure units. 

Climate Proofing Steps at Farm Saouf

Step 1: Superficial screening/filtering

The screening involved the two following sub-steps:

  1. Identification of the plan components and expected targets of these components (in the case of the farm this refers to production / development components).
  2. Identification of activities and exposure units (EU). EU refer to anything that can be assessed through a climate stimulus, e.g. a target group, a productive activity, a geographic entity, natural resource or ecosystem linked to the climate stimulus. Every activity is checked against the degree of exposure (scoring from 0 to +++) by answering the following four questions:
    • Does the Saouef farm plan include measures in the following fields: rural economy, rural development, forest, natural resources, water, and disaster prevention?
    • Does the Saouef farm plan include measures in one of the following natural areas: coastal, flood prone, mountain zones, areas often devastated by cyclones, arid zones?
    • Are the planned expected development outcomes dependent upon important climate factors: temperature, rainfall, wind, extreme events?
    • Would it be possible, within the framework of the plan, to improve the adaptation capacity of target groups or eco- (agro-) systems?

Step 2: Detailed analysis

The analysis of biophysical and socioeconomic impacts of climate trends was carried out for three priority EUs with regards to farm productions (stock breeding and production of fodder, cactus and alfalfa).

Climate stimulus

Biophysical impacts

Socioeconomic impacts

Risk analysis

Current capacities to manage risks

(Additional) CCA alternatives

– Decrease in rainfall and increase in variability combined with more frequent drought  – +2°C- Floods – Drop in yields  – Variability in production-Development of weeds- Biomass degradation  – Instability in farm income  – Drop in investment capacities- Loss of occasional employment- Reduction in performance bonus- Resorting to imports (outflow of currency)- Reduction in EU inputs at national level High risk with regard to achievement of targets established in the field of seed production  – Conservation farming  – Development of phytosanitary treatments- Data sheet by species (requirements)  – Irrigation possibilities improving the level of organic material in the soil  – Developing the modification and seed collection programme- Follow-up system for production/yield in relation to climate conditions- Consolidation of CES work

Table: Preliminary analysis for the exposure units: alfalfa seeds production (extracts)

The relevance of these effects on planning has been assessed while taking into account the probability that such effects would occur and the importance of their impacts on EU targets.

Step 3 and 4: adaptation alternatives and integration into the plan

Steps 3 (analysis of adaptation options) and 4 (integration in the management plan) were only carried out for the most relevant effects. An action plan was developed within the context of the workshop so as to finalise the CP application, while proceeding with training / action.

Specifics of application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set-up

The method was implemented as part of a workshop designed to introduce the actors to the use of the CP method. The workshop was facilitated by experts from the CCC/GIZ project, who had already experimented with CP within the framework of other initiatives (see ‘Sources’ below). The OEP was represented by central level representatives, in addition to farm management officers. Representatives of general departments in charge of farm production and development /conservation of agricultural lands (Ministry of Agriculture) also took part in the works. This enabled the project, on one hand, to take advantage of the technical-economic knowledge that needed to be fed into the analyses, and on the other hand to facilitate the integration of the CC dimension into the management planning of the OEP farms.

  • Input

The most important input is current land data of this state-owned farm, which needed to be collected, and which benefits from the presence of experienced technicians. The need for technical expertise could be met thanks to the participation of OEP staff and of the Ministry of Agriculture. The duration required to apply the approach is difficult to estimate, as the process is still on-going. Approximately 6 months will be required in order to obtain a validated updating of the management plan and achieve internal agreement on its implementation.

  • Output

At this stage the results can be summarised in a preliminary sensitivity analysis of the 3 EU (stock breeding, cactus fodder production, alfalfa) with an initial identification of adaptation alternatives. The final product would be a restructured management plan integrating adaptation measures to CC.

  • Capacities required and ease of use

The application of the method requires:

    • The availability of basic and reliable data over a sufficient period. At local level, this often represents a challenge, especially in terms of continuity in recording and storing the data.
    • An initiating training, the involvement of the concerned actors, who are able to work in team and to take charge of this task.
    • The existence of a planning system that is sufficiently developed to allow for easy identification of the CCA entry points.
    • In addition, the management plan implementation system must be consolidated in order to ensure CCA follow-up, in particular the impact of adaptation alternatives to be applied.

Conclusions for future applications

  • Outcome and added value

The process is still on-going but the initial outcomes demonstrate the integration of CCA in the management of state farms under the responsibility of OEP.

    • The training/action, although short, will continue throughout the stages of CP and the OEP will therefore have access to a pool of resources capable of carrying out this diagnosis.
    • Analysis tools have been made available to participants to proceed with the exercise on other EU.


  • Cost-benefit ratio

Assessment is not yet possible as the method has only been partly tested. We can assume a positive ratio, since the establishment of CCA measures in the management plan could ensure greater sustainable productivity among the various speculations, while avoiding the degradation of soil and water resources in particular.

  • Potential for replication

The underlying approach of this CP method is relatively simple and could easily be adapted by actors on the ground. Furthermore, the OEP is operational throughout the regions of Tunisia thanks to a well-developed structure. The coaching activities for farmers (through awareness-raising and grouping professionals) and the support for research and development (hosting and tutoring of students in agronomy studies) in the field of stock breeding and grazing make for a good replication method and for a CCA integration method.

Reference persons and further information


– Report of the CP workshop – Saouef farm – Zaghouan – July 2012 (CCC/GIZ project, PIK, OEP)

– Other previous experiences of the method testing (PNO4, PGRN)

– Climate Proofing for Development (GIZ publication ) – March 2011

– Climate Proofing for Development: a Training Toolkit http://climatechange.denr.gov.ph

– Report of the CP  workshop – ODEPSYPANO – Béja – December 2010 (CCC/GIZ project, MEDD, MARH)

– Presentations of a CP application example (CCC/GIZ project) 

– Documenting the application of the CP tools in the regional plan of Jendouba, the PGRNII project, the PNO4 project, for various exposure units, dry grain farming, forests, cattle breeding, underground water, irrigated farming.

Reference persons

Tunisia: Vulnerability Assessment of the Olive Plantation Ecosystem

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A Vulnerability Assessment (VA), previously applied in the olive oil sector in Tunisia was adapted to the analytical framework of ‘the archetype approach’ developed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). The outcomes feed into the planning of olive cultivation within the agricultural development agency of Médenine, Tunisia.

Scope and entry points

This VA was a pilot within the framework of the ‘vulnerability analysis of the agricultural sector and water to climate change in the south of Tunisia’ which is supported by the project ‘Climate Impacts: Support Platform For Global And Regional Adaptation’ known as ci:grasp). This method supports concerned actors, regional authorities, regional agricultural development commissions (CRDA), agencies, research centres and agricultural development organisations (GDA), NGOs etc., with an appropriate methodological approach for a VA on one hand, and for the sustainable optimisation of development planning in view of CC on the other. The olive oil sector was chosen because of its socioeconomic predominance at regional and national levels.

How it works

Vulnerability schemes that exist in various places around the world have been identified as ‘vulnerability archetypes’ (archetype = model). As a reminder, ‘vulnerability’ refers to the extent a system is sensitive to – or unable to cope with – negative climate change impacts, including climate variability and extreme events. A ‘vulnerability archetype’ is therefore defined as a ‘representative model of the interactions between the environmental changes and human well-being’ (for instance the urbanisation of coastal strips or subsistence farming on marginal lands in developing countries). It does not describe a specific situation, but focuses on common properties of a multitude of cases covered by this type of ‘archetype’. The method allows studying the links between the factors in a given sector, influenced by multiple stress factors.

The complex stages have been partly simplified. Only stages 2 and 3 – which require greater clarification – are explained in more detail below.

Stage 2: Impact chain pre-analysis

This pre-analysis is summarised in the following diagram, with four main components: 1) Choice of exposure unit, identification of target group, stakeholders, and relevant climate stimuli, 2) Analysis of direct and indirect impacts, 3) Risk assessment, 4) Recommendations for adaptation options.

In order to facilitate the transfer of the method to other concerned actors, e.g. to agricultural specialists involved in development planning some steps were simplified. Simplifications covered the analysis tools and the types of impacts to be monitored. The adaptation measures (step 4) are recommendations based on experience, rather than the outcome of a rigorous identification that would have included the assessment of the potential impacts of such measures.

Stage 3: Archetype formalisation

In the next step the interrelations between the main components such as water resources, soil, farming practices, or political measures and the sector targeted by the VA are identified in order to analyse the systemic functioning of an archetype (systemic approach). The variables and parameters to be factored into inputs (particularly the climatic stimuli and biophysical and socioeconomic parameters) and output indicators (vulnerability indicators) are defined by specifying the possible relationships and combinations. The climate scenarios are included in the form of ‘stressors’ (parameters for implementing the climate shocks).

The choice for an analysis tools fell on a water balance model (BUDGET; public domain software www.iupware.be), and GIS tools for the spatial overlay and analysis of several layers (pedologic maps, soil fitness categories). Three scenarios were considered with and without CC by 2020 and 2050 and were applied to all possible topographic combinations (mountains, plains), soils (all soils), meteorological stations and precipitation stations in the region.

Specifics of application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set-up

The leading actors are the Institut des Régions Arides (IRA), the CRDA of Médenine and the CC/GIZ project. The method was implemented by a team composed of two specialists from IRA, who benefited from sharing experience with specialists from PIK, and other specialists in various fields (pedology, ecology, combat against desertification, plant production, water resources) involved on a regular basis. Special attention was given to the consultation and cooperation process with the actors from the regional agricultural development sphere.

  • Input

The approach requires specialists in climate and environmental modelling, in environmental and geographic information systems, specialists in appropriate fields related to the methodology and concept needs of the archetype. The initial lack of integration of the topic in the institutions as well as the lack of resources in research institutions make external funding necessary and call on consulting specialists. The most important input is the current ground data, of which some (e.g. meteorological data from certain stations) are expensive. The required maps need to be adjusted and updated. The pilot application lasted approximately 18 months, a period required not only to adapt the method but also to ensure the participative approach and the involvement of stakeholders. This aspect incurred additional costs, for instance the organisation of exchange workshops.

  • Output

The following products could be leveraged in the short term:

– A geographic database for the ‘olive oil cultivation system’ archetype.

– A land fitness map for olive cultivation in the Governorate of Médenine.

– A land sensitivity to CC map for olive cultivation in the Governorate of Médenine.

  • Capacity required and ease of use

The implementation of the method, even if simplified, is demanding:

– Human resources working interdisciplinary. People who master the method, which remains quite complex as it requires both a systemic and an analytical approach.

– Setting up a partnership process with the actors and partners involved from the identification of the archetype in response to a priority and real concern of society until the stage of outcome validation.

Conclusions for future applications

  • Outcome and added value

The tools developed as part of the method include mapping databases, which can be customised by integrating CC scenarios. In addition, they can supply various thematic outputs that facilitate decision-making in ecosystem planning and agro system management.

The implementation of the pilot involved the training of CRDA specialists (representatives of various districts), in order to install the GIS system within the CRDA and carry out a communication activity with an NGO. At present, the specialists are using the outcomes to sensitise farmers who wish to expand their plantations, or to support farming improvements. The utilisation of the olive oil sector in planning guidance in the governorate of Médenine has not yet been put into practice; constraints linked to the regional planning process, which is currently being re-organised, must first be overcome.

  • Cost-benefit ratio

This can be considered satisfactory. Methods and tools are implemented at regional level and the outcomes obtained have attracted the interest of local as well as national actors, such as the IO, a specialised institute, which is focusing more attentively on the CCA issue within the framework of a cooperation between the IRA and the GIZ.

  • Potential for replication

Such methods contribute greatly and in a more detailed manner than at national level to improved effectiveness in developing adaptation measures. They are very useful in meeting the rationale requirements for project requests for adaptation to CC funds or to other funding sources, for which there is significant demand from development actors.

The ownership of the method by the ‘developers’ remains contingent on improving the methodology such as the development of an evaluation stage for adaptation alternatives, as well as the validation and extrapolation process of the tools/outcomes. Indeed the reproduction of this method by development actors could only take place once recognition and validation has been achieved at central level (for example the Ministry of Agriculture).



  • Analysis of olive plantation vulnerability to climate change in the Governorate of Médenine (GIZ publication – CC/GIZ project, Tunis) – 2012
  • Proceedings of the seminar on the adaptation of olive cultivation to climate change (MEDD – CC/GIZ project Tunis) – December 2012

Web sites

Reference persons:

South Africa: Risk and Vulnerability Atlas

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The tool

The South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas (SARVA) is a platform for global change information transfer from research to policy- and decision-makers. The SARVA program provides a centralised repository for global change research (http://sarva.dirisa.org/) as well as a collection of integration and awareness tools aimed at improving evidence-based decision-making concerning global change. The current focus of the Atlas is on the country, regions and localities of South Africa. However investigations are being carried out to assess expansion opportunities into other parts of the region.

Scope and entry points

Based on a broad stakeholder engagement exercise, SARVA was identified as a necessary resource to address the grand knowledge challenges facing South Africa over the next decade (see DST, 2009). In particular, the Atlas was identified as a tool to facilitate access to the best available knowledge on global change risks and vulnerabilities in South Africa to those that need it most, including local authorities, practitioners, students, businesses and others. As such, SARVA has been identified as a key resource under the National Climate Change Response Strategy as both an input and dissemination tool for relevant assessment and response exercises. Research housed by the portal reflects multiple scales of analysis, from local to national and regional, depending on data origin and availability.

SARVA’s open access electronic spatial portal provides internet users with access to spatial and non-spatial data sets and resources, as well as various search, upload/download and data manipulation and presentation capabilities. The portal is organised according to a variety of relevant themes including socio-economics, human settlements, climate and weather, biodiversity, forestry, ground and surface water, disaster management, agriculture, emissions and air quality, coastal and marine and environmental health.

In addition to the electronic spatial portal, the platform also has a number of synthesised, targeted and offline products to suit various user needs including a summarised hardcopy compendium of global change research and case studies as well as analysis and awareness tools. Stakeholder outreach and training is a key part of the program, including to officials seeking to integrate global change information into local planning and development processes and others.

How it works

Electronic Spatial Portal users are able to search for datasets and research according to theme, keywords or geographic area. In addition to downloadable data and research, geographic information available for mapping can be manipulated according the user needs using the portal mapping and analysis functions (see Figures 1). The soon to be launched South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas Geospatial Analysis Platform (SARV-GAP) provides users with pre-defined maps and interpretations of key risk and vulnerability issues for global change in South Africa (see Figure 2).

Figure 1: Example map: Conservation, Active Fires, and Population


Figure 2. Risk and Vulnerability information, maps and narratives available on the offline SARV-GAP tool

Specifics of application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set up

Multiple stakeholders were involved in identifying the need for SARVA and the key themes it should include. The program also works extensively with key partners at multiple levels such as the National Departments of Environmental Affairs and Cooperative Governance, the South African Local Government Association, municipalities, businesses, academic and research institutions to identify on going needs, build capacity and address integrated research challenges. These include universities, government departments, businesses, municipalities and others. The electronic spatial portal is curated by a number of experts in their respective fields that work to curate the information available on the Atlas and keep up with emerging knowledge and developments in the field. The project management and working group teams for the Atlas are housed at the Natural Resources and Environment Unit at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the infrastructure for the portal is provided by the South African Earth Observation Network.

  • Capacity required and Ease of Use

Although general search functions and research outputs such as case studies are available for non-technical audiences, a basic level of GIS training is required for advanced manipulation and interpretation of geospatial data available on the portal. To bridge the gap between technical GIS users and non-technical users interested in gaining a better understanding of global change, the new SARV-GAP tool has been developed to introduce key concepts with no prior technical knowledge or internet connection required.

  • Resources (personnel, expertise, data demand, funds, time)

Implementation of the Atlas is currently coordinated by two managers and one project officer based at CSIR NRE. These include a manager leading the electronic spatial portal and theme convenors (~80%), a manager focused on the coordination of partnerships and outreach (<50%) and shared program management functions and; a candidate researcher involved in stakeholder engagement, capacity building and monitoring and evaluation (<50%). All aspects of implementation however are balanced across this team based on available expertise and resource and according to specific plans. The work of the coordination team is supported by a working group devoted to Atlas data integration, product development and outreach activities. Here the coordination team is joined by others with expertise in Geospatial analysis and Geoinformatics, Urban and Regional Planning and other sectors (e.g. Disaster Management, Risk Analysis; Information Architecture) as needed. Another key aspect of the Atlas involves the data and coordination efforts of the theme convenors on the electronic spatial portal. Theme convenors are a group of recognised experts in their respective fields (see above list of themes) who are tasked with leading the acquisition and availability of relevant Atlas data and supplementary support to research and outreach activities. Finally, the South African Earth Observation Network (SAEON) is responsible for the technical development, maintenance and functioning of the electronic spatial portal infrastructure as well as data cataloguing and related functions, while communications support is provided for the overarching Atlas website (which links to the electronic spatial portal) newsletters and other communications. The annual budget for the Atlas is between approximately 4-6 million South African Rand (ZAR) per annum (approximately half a million USD).

Conclusions for future application

SARVA products including the hardcopy Atlas, the electronic spatial portal and others have been well received by local and international audiences, in particular for bringing the multiple stressors and vulnerabilities of global change to local and international audiences of all kinds. The Atlas has been used by South African parliamentary members and policy makers around global change, by scientists and analysts assessing risk and vulnerability and by officials and others planning responses to the multiple stressors and vulnerabilities facing the country today and into the future. The Atlas has also been targeted for possible expansion at a regional level.


Reference persons for further information

  • Kristy Faccer Research Group Leader: Sustainable Social-ecological Systems, CSIR Natural Resources and the Environment, kfaccer@csir.co.za
  • Dr Julia Mambo Senior Scientist: Climate Studies, Modeling & Environmental Health, CSIR, jmambo@csir.co.za

Tunisia: Environmental Cost-Benefit Analysis

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An environmental Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) was conducted within the context of a vulnerability assessment on ecosystems of cork forest and alfa fields, carried out in 2010/2011 in Tunisia. The environmental CBA assessed the economic value of the various goods and services (G&S) provided by these ecosystems, and estimated the potential loss of the economic value through the impact of climate change (CC).

Scope and entry points

The approach was designed to meet the immediate need for improving information on CC impacts from an economic risk perspective and to promote the best adaptation measures at the decision-making level within the Forestry Directorate General. The new national strategy for forest development, due to be drafted in 2013, will include CC adaptation and economic assessments of forest ecosystem G&S aiming at optimizing the ecosystems sustainably. The results of this ‘pilot’ application of an environmental CBA will be taken into account when revising the alfa field development plans and when identifying optimisation measures for the G&S of the cork forest (FFEM-DGF project: ‘Optimising the Production of Goods and Services by the Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems in the Context of Global changes’).

How it works

The ‘pilot’ implementation of this tool consisted of three steps. A fourth step should be devoted to assessing adaptation options, but was not executed within the context of the pilot.

Steps and main sub-steps of implmenting the environmental CBA

Step 1: Identification of goods & services

Part of the identification of the G&S is a classification of the identified ecosystem G&S that is based on the concept of total economic value (TEV, Merlo and Coitoru, 2005). The G&E were classified by type of service (production, ecological, social, i.e. supply / levy services, regulative services, cultural services, self-sustaining services), and the recipient, e.g. Tunisian state, user community, Tunisian society and international community (see table below).

G&S of cork forest


Supply services Cork, mushrooms, myrtle, fuel wood, hunting Government
Fodder, acorn, fuel wood, snails, honey, PAM, hunting Stock farmersHunters
Regulative services Protection against water erosion (silting) carbon catchment Tunisian SocietyGlobal Community
Cultural services Leisure, landscape, cultures and traditions Tunisian Society
Support services Biodiversity Conservation Society and Global Community

Step 2: Economic evaluation

For the economic evaluation various techniques were used depending on the type of value:

For the cork oak ecosystem, the main methods used were based on market prices, production function method, travel cost and protection cost method.

For alfa fields, evaluation techniques refer to the market price for alfa leaves, the international price for the quantity of fixed carbon, the substitution costs for fodder production, the changes in production of services linked to the erosion control, and the cost of protection measures for biodiversity conservation.

The TEV was estimated by aggregating the values of all goods and services.

Step 3: Assessment of the lost economic value

The economic values of the changes in G&S flows induced by CC were assessed in two steps:

  • Identification of physical impacts (negative and positive) of environmental changes on economic activities.
  • Economic evaluation of changes in production or consumption induced by CC, using the same methods as for step 2. Avoided damage and replacement cost methods were used for assessing the costs related to degradation.

Moreover, discounting helped to translate the values of year n (2050 in future) into their present value. The choice of the discount rate (2%) was based mainly on the long analysis period, the inflation of prices for G&E, depending on supply and demand and on the availability of competing services.

Specifics of application

  • Stakeholders and institutional set-up

The leading institution for the pilot was the Forestry Directorate General (DGF). The forest districts provided information and were involved in the field work. The CCC/GIZ project played a facilitating role in addition to financing the activity (developing the terms of reference, coaching the team of experts, periodic updates, and exchange workshops).

  • Input

Upstream, data input is necessary (provided by the DGF, forest districts, l’Institut National de Recherche en Génie Rural, Eaux et Forêts (INRGREF), and by other research institutes). Their availability and if possible their reliability should be checked. An interdisciplinary team of specialists was set up. An expert in forest economics was assigned the specific task of applying this method, in close coordination with the other members of the group who carried out the vulnerability biophysical analyses. The assessment of goods and services requires approximately 2 months but within the larger framework of vulnerability analysis (VA) would require 18 months.

  • Output

Data compilation in form of tables and diagrams on the nature, value of benefits and their distribution in terms of the G&S of both ecosystems. Visualisation of actual value of G&S losses due to CC based on scenarios, compared to those of goods and services with no CC impact in 2020 and in 2050.

  • Capacity required and ease of use

In Tunisia, the required expert profiles (environmental economist and technical specialists in erosion, water resources etc.) do exist, but must mainly be mobilised through consultancy and external technical assistance projects. The assessment of ecosystem G&S can ideally be carried out within the context of a VA, considering the diversity of the required data. The main constraint is the need for upstream data, which can only be produced within the framework of coherent and long-term research programmes. However, research work suffers from a chronic lack of budget and from deficits in terms of identifying and integrating research themes. This is compounded by inter-sectoral coordination difficulties.

Conclusions for future application

  • Outcome and added value

The new forest development strategy for 2013-2022 will integrate the consolidation of adaptation and mitigation measures and consider the economic value for ecosystem G&S with a view to leveraging and sustainably optimize these resources. In the short-run, the terms of reference for updating the land-use plans will be revised in order to take into consideration the production of market and non-market services (note: timber production is ranked in fourth position among forest goods in Tunisia), will be launched with GIZ support.

  • Cost-benefit ratio

The outcomes of these evaluations provide very strong arguments to help decision-makers commit themselves to supporting adaptation actions. However, in view of the extent of resources to be mobilised, the method can only be relevant to priority application cases.

  • Potential for replication

The choice of evaluation methods for G&S costs was made by prioritising the availability of information and the ease of applying this information in a timely fashion, also considering the replicability of the method. More complex evaluation methods, such as contingent valuation, were thus discarded.

The new forest development strategy for 2013-2022 will integrate the consolidation of adaptation and mitigation measures for CC and the consideration of the economic value for ecosystem G&S with a view to the leveraging and sustainable optimisation of these resources. This provides a favourable replication framework.

However, as such application is only possible within a larger and more complex vulnerability analysis context, its utilisation is limited by significant funds required for its implementation.

Account also needs to be taken of:

  • Difficulties in obtaining the required data, which are sometimes available only within the framework of medium term and long-term research programmes.
  • The necessity of developing the evaluation stage of adaptation alternatives; indeed, a cost-benefit analysis would enable the selection of the best (most efficient) alternative and the appropriate intervention period (immediate or delayed).
  • The need for harmonising G&S evaluation methods, while prioritising methods that could be controlled in terms of time and in costs.



  1. Study on the vulnerability of the cork forest to climate change. Ministry of Environment- GIZ – 2011 – Tunis.
  2. Study on the vulnerability of the alfa ecosystem to climate change in the Governorate of Kasserine, Ministry of Environment- GIZ – 2011 – Tunis.
  3. Economy of ecosystems and of cork forest biodiversity as well as of alfa fields (within the context of studies on cork forest vulnerability (ecosystem limits in Jendouba and Béja) and of alfa fields (Kasserine) – Hamed Daly – Ministry of Environment – GIZ – 2011.
  4. Methodological guide for the approach to assessing ecosystem goods and services, Ministry of Environment- GIZ- 2012.
  5. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment- Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005.
  6. Optimisation project for the production of goods and services by the Mediterranean forest ecosystems in the context of the global change (www.ffem.fr)
  7. Economic assessment of Tunisian forest goods and services, summary note- Ministry of Agriculture- Direction Générale des Forêts – National forest programme facility – FAO July 2012
  8. The economics of ecosystems and biodiversity for local and regional policy makers. TEEB, 2010. Earthscan, London.


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