Vulnerability Assessment Module for Approaches to CCA Planning Workshops

Published: 12th January 2015 10:15Last Updated: 12th January 2015 10:12
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This module has been developed in response to the need for more guidance on vulnerability assesment, in particular for coastal areas, identified by participants of training workshops in Indonesia and the Philippines during a follow-up questionnaire.

Coastal ecosystems in Indonesia. Photo credit: Global Explorers

Many approaches for assessing vulnerability to climate change have been developed and applied in different contexts. The advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to vulnerability are discussed elsewhere on weADAPT.

The goal of this module is to provide follow-on guidance on vulnerability assessment for participants of two workshops conducted in Indonesia and the Philippines in late 2013. We will focus on methods to rapidly assess vulnerability at the local level, give examples of several useful methods for assessing vulnerability, and provide links to a series of examples where these methods have been applied in Indonesia and the Philipinnes.

At the core of our understanding of vulnerability is that it is context-specific, dynamic (it changes over time), and socially determined (different groups will have differing levels of vulnerability despite experiencing the same hazards).

Assessing vulnerability

Livelihood-Exposure matrix

This is a simple method for assessing vulnerability at the community level by assessing which livelihood activities are most sensitive to different climatic hazards, and as a result which groups are most vulnerable to these hazards. This approach was introduced during the workshops. In the document below, guidance is provided on how to carry out such an exercise, and an example matrix provided.

Example livelihood-exposure matrix


The Indonesian Climate Adaptation Tool for Coastal Habitats (I-CATCH) was developed by USAID and the Santiri Foundation. It combines participatory rural appraisal methods with available data, with the goal of ensuring that district level planning is informed by information on local level community vulnerability.

Examples of I-CATCH implementation (Bahasa) are provided in the links below:

Vulnerability tools for coastal ecosystems

These coastal vulnerability assessment tools were developed by Philippine marine scientists and are designed to facilitate local level vulnerability assessment specifically for coastal areas. The suite of tools make use of readily available data, combined with participatory  information. There are three main tools; the Integrated Coastal Sensitivity, Exposure and Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool (ICSEA-C-Change), the Coastal Integrity VA Tool (CIVAT) and the Tool for Understanding Fisheries Resilience (TURF).

The tools were designed for use by coastal managers and practitioners, and to assist in local government planning. The guidebook below provides detailed guidance on use of the tools, and various examples of their application.

Handbook of vulnerability assessment tools for coastal ecosystems


Developed by CARE International, the Climate and Vulnerability Capacity Analysis (CVCA) methodology has been widely used for vulnerability assessment (see for example the case studies for Indonesia). CVCA combines community knowledge and scientific data to understand local vulnerability to climate change and was developed based on factors which support Community-Based Adaptation (CBA).

The CVCA handbook provides clear guidance on how to conduct a CVCA, and is available in Bahasa as well as English. Below are several case studies of the use of CVCA to assess vulnerability in coastal locations in Indonesia:

Climate analysis

Now that you've had a look through this material on vulnerability assessment, why not explore the guided example on climate analysis which has also been prepared to support workshop participants. Or have a look at the Climate Information theme for lots more on the use of climate analysis to support adaptation.

Further resources

Useful resources

The adaptation toolkit, developed by SEI and ENDA TM, provides overviews of a several different tools for adaptation, including vulnerability assessment, participatory resource mapping, scenario-building and adaptation screening.

More guidance on vulneability assessment on weADAPT can be found in the Vulnerability theme generally, and specifically here

WWF have developed a manual for assessing the vulnerability of mangrove systems

The Community based Risk Screening Tool – Adaptation and Livelihoods (CRiSTAL) is another quick method for assessing community-level vulnerability. For an Indonesian example see here.

GIZ have developed a framework for vulnerability based on their work in India.

Other training modules on weADAPT

The main repository for training modules on weADAPT is the Climate Adaptation Training theme. Modules in the theme which might be of particular interest are highlighted below, and there are many more as well!

Climate Risk Communication

Mapping Indicators of Vulnerability

Robust Decision Making

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