Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT)
The Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT) is a unique tool developed by WOTR to assess vulnerabilities of communities in a particular area. It gives ‘indications’ of the vulnerability of communities to the hazard which they are most likely to face. The tool is open-ended and allows constant improvisations. We at WOTR believe that there needs to be a shift in policy and implementation approaches from ‘Development Planning’ to ‘Planning taking into account Uncertainty due to Climate Change’. WOTR has started conducting VAT trainings for implementation teams and development professionals.
India with her 700 million of rural population is highly dependent on climate-sensitive sectors (agriculture, livestock, forests and fisheries) and natural resources (such as water, biodiversity, mangroves, coastal zones, grasslands) for survival and livelihoods. Climate Change is directly or indirectly responsible for adversely affecting these sectors by creating negative socio-economic pressures. Tackling climate change is already proving to be one of our biggest national challenges. The first step towards this is to know the problem: Vulnerability.
Training program topics:
Concept of Adaptation to climate change and Vulnerability:
Terms like Vulnerability (The extent to which a natural or social system is susceptible to sustaining damage from climate change), Sensitivity, Resilience, Adaptation, Adaptive capacity, Risk, Hazard (An event with potential to cause harm) and Sustainable development are defined in the workshop.
Difference between Adaptation (actions undertaken as a response to stress) and Adaptive capacity (ability of a system to adjust to climate change and to take advantage of opportunities, and cope with the consequences)
Types of Adaptation: Anticipatory/ Reactive (as a private, public response as well as for specific sectors like Agriculture) and Policy-driven adaptation
Approaches to Adaptation: Building adaptive capacity, Taking adaptive action, Autonomous or unassisted adaptation
VAT WORK SHEET: a participatory methodology for Vulnerability Assessment
- Documentation of drivers and pressures in Climate Sensitive Livelihood sectors (Agriculture, Livestock, Forests, Fisheries), Data collection from the field – past history, current scenario, responses to problems till date
- Identifying Risks and Resources (5 Capitals* needed for identified climate risks / vulnerable groups)
- Sensitivity Analysis based on 5 Capitals- Systems approach to map all interdependencies and interactions
- Rating of 5 Capitals of the village in village on scale of 1-5 (1 denoting low or nil status of the capital in the village and 5 denoting good status of )
- Generation of VULNERABILITY CODE – Grading of highly sensitive and essential resources on a scale of 1 – 5 according to the 5 capitals
This code could change over time and indicate which capital needs to be boosted by external interventions.
Vulnerabilities of a community can change over time in many different and subtle ways. The speciality of VAT is its flexibility. Coping with uncertainty and change is interwoven into its approach and so the assessment is never static. It is an effective tool to gauge the efficacy of current interventions and plan new immediate interventions if needed. VAT could help implementation team and development practitioners in planning and modifying their approach and actions- Adapting to a changing climate in a real sense.
* 5 Capitals are Natural, Physical, Social, Human and Financial Capital the capital in the village