25 May 2012

The CCAPS program released a new research brief today based on field research assessing how local actors conceptualize climate change vulnerability and how well these realities are captured by the program's vulnerability model. In "Ground Truthing" Vulnerability in Africa, LBJ School of Public Affairs graduate student Jared Berenter and CCAPS researcher Joshua Busby test, or ground truth, the validity of CCAPS' remotely generated vulnerability assessments. The full report on this field research is also available on the CCAPS website.

This research builds on the CCAPS vulnerability model developed by Joshua Busby and his team. CCAPS has a specific security focus in its representation of vulnerability, focusing on the potential for climate change to put large numbers of people at risk of death from exposure to climate related hazards. Using indicators of historical climate hazard exposure, population density, household and community resilience, and governance and political violence, CCAPS created geospatial representations of national and sub-national vulnerability in Africa.

CCAPS researchers then traveled to select African countries to test how well local realities are captured by the CCAPS vulnerability model.This brief draws upon interviews conducted by CCAPS faculty and student researchers in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Researchers met with academics, international organizations, regional organizations, bilateral donors, international and local development and environmental NGOs, government officials, and private sector actors, in an effort to gauge local perceptions of vulnerability and the nature of the response. The field interviews supported many of the intuitions of CCAPS maps; interviews also identified sources of divergence related to the weight CCAPS assigns to population density and the way CCAPS defines drought, as well as challenges in capturing vulnerability of pastoral communities and cross-border vulnerability spillovers.

CCAPS’ broader research on climate security vulnerability is explored in a new book chapter by Josh Busby released this month by Springer Press.

The “Ground Truthing” Vulnerability research brief and full report are available online with other CCAPS research on climate vulnerability.