ANALYSIS STEP 5: Analysing the underlying causes of vulnerability
Many of the factors which shape people’s vulnerability to climate change actually have nothing to do with the climate. Socio-economic, cultural and political factors such as adverse policies, extreme poverty, social exclusion, inadequate social services and infrastructure, lack of rights and access to important resources, especially natural resources such as land and water, can exacerbate vulnerability of certain groups to climate variability and change. These should be identified and analysed in the target community. The analysis will help identify the underlying causes of vulnerability, and differential vulnerability to climate variability and change.
Secondary sources of information include relevant national policies and laws such as on land tenure; reports from relevant governmental institutions such as water departments; project reports from other NGOs and CBOs (including human rights and faith-based organisations), and relevant academic publications among others. Primary sources of information would include key informant interviews including local community members residing in the area, government representatives at local level, and representatives of other NGOs and CBOs working in the area.
Climate Vulnerability and Capacity Analysis (CVCA) Handbook
The CVCA methodology emphasizes differential vulnerability within communities and households to identify who is vulnerable and why. It includes a focus on livelihoods resources and analysis of access to and control over these resources. Applying each of the tools with attention to gender differences will result in a better understanding of the complexity of gender differences.
Analysis Step 5.1: Analyse access to and control over critical livelihoods resources for different groups
Using the results of the analysis in Step 3 it is important to be able to also understand who has access to and control over these resources. Insecure access to resources such as agricultural land, water infrastructure, and money can limit people’s ability or will to make decisions that would facilitate adaptation in the context of climate change. If farmers do not have secure land tenure, for example, they have much less incentive to manage the land sustainably, and to invest in good practices such as conservation agriculture and tree planting.
Infrastructure, such as roads, cyclone shelters and telecommunications, can play a role in people’s adaptive capacity. Roads, for example, can facilitate access to markets and financial services which can lead to income security, in turn leading to greater resilience. The existence of cyclone shelters can offer protection from these extreme events as they become more frequent and more intense.
Telecommunications infrastructure facilitates access to information such as seasonal weather forecasts and market prices which can support decision-making for risk management. Similarly, services such as health, education, financial services and agricultural extension support people in meeting their basic needs and reduce vulnerability to shocks and stresses. The vulnerability matrix (p39) in the CVCA Handbook will help you identify the livelihood resources and prioritise these in terms of their vulnerability to climate hazards. Further discussion can draw out who has access to and control over these resources.
Analysis Step 5.2: Conduct gender analysis to understand differential vulnerability between men and women
Women face many specific challenges in adapting to climate change, and they must be empowered to overcome these challenges. Poor and marginalised men may also be highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. Therefore, our adaptation interventions must support all vulnerable members of communities to build resilience within their existing roles and responsibilities, while at the same time challenging traditional roles and power allocations to move towards gender equality.
It is increasingly recognized that women may be more vulnerable to climate impacts than men for a variety of reasons. On average, women are poorer and they typically lack secure access to the resources needed for adaptation. Women rarely have an equal say in decision-making in households, communities or in national politics. At the same time, experience has shown that women are central to permanently improving the lives of their families and communities, and therefore must play a pivotal role in community-based adaptation initiatives. Similarly, marginalized groups tend to have less security in access to and control over resources, and this contributes to their vulnerability to climate change. These underlying causes of vulnerability must be addressed in order to have a sustainable impact in reducing vulnerability to climate shocks.
Adaptation, gender and women’s empowerment
This CARE Climate Change Brief explains why gender is an important consideration in vulnerability to climate change, and identifies how gender roles, control over resources and power play a role in people’s adaptive capacity.
Analysis Step 5.3: Evaluate participation (particularly of vulnerable groups) in policy decisions at national and local levels
A lack of voice in local and national decision-making is a critical factor contributing to vulnerability to climate change, particularly for women and other marginalized groups. This is evidenced by policies and institutions that do not respond to the specific needs and priorities of communities in general and of vulnerable groups in particular.
Analysis Step 5.4: Identify social groups that are particularly vulnerable to climate change
On the basis of the previous steps you will be able to identify those groups that are particularly vulnerable to climate change in the target area. These may then be the focus for your adaptation strategies in the CBA project. If you take a broader approach you should use this information to ensure activities are appropriately tailored to this group.
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