Vulnerability Assessment

Vulnerability Assessments “at a glance”

What are Vulnerability Assessments?

Vulnerability Assessments (VAs) help to identify the nature and extent to which climate change may harm a country, region, sector or community. VAs are therefore a central component of adaptation action.


What are different approaches for Vulnerability Assessment?

A common distinction is made between top-down, bottom-up and integrated approaches. Other classifications include indicator-based or model-based approaches.

What are the reasons for undertaking a Vulnerability Assessment?

Vulnerability Assessments are important tools to support decision-making undertaken for different purposes. They can be used to identify the most vulnerable people, places and sectors so that resources are allocated accordingly; they can be used in the design of adaptation policies and projects, and to establish a baseline against which the success of adaptation policies can be monitored.

What are the challenges and how can they be overcome?

The great variety of Vulnerability Assessment approaches is often confusing for practitioners, but good overviews are also available. Apart from finding the most suitable methodology, challenging aspects include the availability of data and the capacity to analyze. In addition, Vulnerability Assessments often require specific technical expertise and significant coordination between different disciplines and actors.

What main lessons have been learned from application?

Vulnerability Assessments (VAs) need to match their context in order to be able to provide meaningful and useful conclusions. VAs on a larger scale are very useful for gaining initial insight when preparing VAs on a smaller scale. VAs on smaller scale or focusing on special sectors, geographical areas or communities help to identify concrete adaptation measures for reducing vulnerability.

Where is more information available?

A variety of guides and tool descriptions are available for vulnerability assessments under different conditions.