Digging for drinking water in a dry riverbed.
Photo: © Marisol Grandon/DfID

Toolkit to measure climate change vulnerability

A new toolkit to measure climate change vulnerability in rural communities was released by Bioversity International and the Institute of Development Studies in June 2015.

A new toolkit, available since June 2015, should help researchers and extension agents conduct participatory vulnerability analyses in rural communities and assess their potential to adapt to climate change. The toolkit was created by Bioversity International and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS, Brighton, UK).

Food systems are already and will be increasingly affected by extreme climate events and climate variability, but some groups are more vulnerable than others. Higher vulnerability can be a result of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic class and other factors. What are some of the coping mechanisms that local communities are already using? Are there measures that can be put in place that are more tailored to the needs of these vulnerable groups?

The new toolkit includes step-by-step guidance on how to carry out participatory mapping, understand climatic trends, identify changes in livelihood strategies, and other exercises that tap into the knowledge and experiences of the local community to understand their context and vulnerability and develop better adaptation strategies. 

Two case studies that have tested this toolkit in Colombia and Tanzania are also available for those who want a better idea of how the toolkit can be used in practice. In Colombia, the toolkit was tested in the Chicamocha canyon, an area that has been victim to increasing drought and desertification in recent decades. In Tanzania, the toolkit was used in the Dodoma district, and looked particularly at important crops such as sorghum, cowpea and pigeon pea and how varietal diversity could help increase resilience to climate change.

The publication is part of a working paper series of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). 

Download the Toolkit: Climate Change and Food Security Vunerability Assessment – Toolkit for assessing community-level potential for adapatation to climate change

Case Study 1: Evaluación de la efectividad de los métodos participativos en estimar vulnerabilidad al cambio climático en Colombia (in Spanish)

Case Study 2: Assessing climate change vulnerability and its effects on food security: Testing new toolkit in Tanzania 

(Bioversity International/ile)