J6.2 Demonstrating the utility of a participatory approach to vulnerability and adaptation to climate change assessment

Wednesday, 26 January 2011: 4:15 PM
4C-4 (Washington State Convention Center)
Shannon McNeeley, NCAR, Boulder, CO

Two case studies will be presented that demonstrate the value of working with stakeholders to determine vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. The analytical framework and approach of these studies was an in-community, place-based, participatory Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity Assessment (VA). This approach employs historical data to establish baseline vulnerability and adaptive capacity and contributes to practical adaptation initiatives. VA assessment entails understanding the phenomena and main processes involved in the social-ecological system and identifying relationships and key resources susceptible to harm (e.g., food, financial, or energy resources). This approach followed the model set forth by Smit and Wandel (2006) where problems and determinants of vulnerability are not determined a priori, but rather determined with the stakeholders themselves. In using this approach, unexpected discoveries arose that led to refinement of the research questions and data analyzed. This, in turn, guides the research in a way that makes the results more useful to the stakeholders themselves for understanding their own vulnerabilities to climate change and for devising appropriate adaptation strategies.
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