Formal Approaches to Vulnerability Assessment that Informs Adaptation
January 2006 until December 2008
Cezar Ionescu
PIK number / OEH

FAVAIA is a joint project of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). At PIK the project is part of the Research Domain IV: Transdisciplinary Concepts & Methods; at SEI it contributes to the Risk and Vulnerability Programme. FAVAIA is a partner of VulnerabilityNet.org. FAVAIA consists of three related activities aimed at improving and applying methods to assess vulnerability and inform adaptation. First, we develop a formal framework of vulnerability using mathematical concepts that are independent of any knowledge domain and applicable to any system under consideration. This activity should facilitate the systematic assessment of vulnerability across different sectors and geographical scales, improve the clarity of communication on vulnerability and provide a basis for computational modelling. One such model is DIVA, with which one can assess coastal vulnerability to sea-level rise worldwide. As a second activity, DIVA is being further developed and applied, and made suitable to become a component of a distributed integrated assessment model. Third, we conduct empirical research and policy analysis to evaluate the desirability and feasibility of mainstreaming adaptation to climate change into development planning and ongoing local and sectoral decision-making. This activity involves research on institutions that shape the international adaptation policy regime, as well as local and regional studies of barriers to and opportunities for mainstreaming adaptation. PIK's contribution to FAVAIA builds on the research done in the former PIK Project EVA (Environmental Vulnerability Assessment; 2001-2004). It is funded by the Directorate-General Research of the European Commission (projects NeWater and ADAM), the German Research Foundation (DFG), the World Bank, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the International Institute for Environment and Development, and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.