Short course training: Plenary discussion of vulnerability frameworks

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani | published 25th Mar 2011 | last updated 30th Mar 2011

Go to Vulnerability Frameworks to learn about the objectives and steps of this exercise, as well as the key issues that came out when we assessed each framework in the plenary discussion.

Some key points to highlight are:

  • There are different frameworks to assess vulnerability, some are more comprehensive than others, some are more abstract than others, some are very simple but too broad, and some are more easy to apply in practice than others.
  • The term vulnerability is interpreted in different ways by different communities of practice.

It is important to make clear which framework are you using and why, let people know the assumptions you used, so they can keep this in mind when they read and use your work in further research and reflect upon the strengths and weaknesses of the framework you used, assess if it works for your purpose.

    Some frameworks are better than others at capturing dynamic vulnerability!!! Static indicators are not the best way to capture interactions between multiple stresses and changes over time... Don't forget that vulnerability is not static! Some key attributes to keep in mind when thinking about dynamic vulnerability are:

    1. Vulnerability is the differential exposure to multiple stresses experienced or anticipated by different exposure units.

    2. Vulnerability is not static - is constantly changing on a variety of interlinked time scales

    3. Social vulnerability is rooted in the actions and multiple attributes of human actors to take decisions

    4. Social networks drive and bound vulnerability in the social, economic, political, and environmental interactions.

    5. Constructed simultaneously on more than one scale (cascading effects and unpredictable changes!)

    6. Multiple stresses are the cause for vulnerability of peoples, places, and systems.