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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Vulnerability Assessment & Social Learning

A new paper published in Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change by Yuen et al. (with me being one of the et al.), explores the utility of vulnerability assessment for stimulating social learning on climate change, its consequences, and potential adaptation responses. The abstract below provides the summary, but overall, the study suggests that a priori assumptions about the utility of technical assessments with respect to decision support may erroneous. Rather, the true utility, though ofter overlooked, lies in the role such assessments play in stimulating deliberation and acting as boundary objects for shared learning regarding climate change.

Yuen, E.J., Stone Jovicich, S., Preston, B.L. (2012) Climate change vulnerability assessments as catalysts for social learning: four case studies in south-eastern Australia. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, DOI 10.1007/s11027-012-9376-4.


Technical assessments of vulnerability and/or risk are increasingly being undertaken to assess the impacts of climate change. Underlying this is the belief that they will bring clarity to questions regarding the scale of institutional investments required, plausible adaptation policies and measures, and the timing of their implementation. Despite the perceived importance of technical assessments in 'evidence-based' decision environments, assessments cannot be undertaken independent of values and politics, nor are they capable of eliminating the uncertainty that clouds decision-making on climate adaptation As such, assessments can trigger as many questions as they answer, leaving practitioners and stakeholders to question their value. This paper explores the value of vulnerability/risk assessments in climate change adaptation planning processes as a catalyst for learning in four case studies in Southeastern Australia. Data were collected using qualitative interviews with stakeholders involved in the assessments and analysed using a social learning framework. This analysis revealed that detailed and tangible strategies or actions often do not emerge directly from technical assessments. However, it also revealed that the assessments became important platforms for social learning. In providing these platforms, assessments present opportunities to question initial assumptions, explore multiple framings of an issue, generatenew information, and galvanise support for collective actions. This study highlights the need for more explicit recognition and understanding of the important role social learning plays in climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning more broadly.

1 comment:

bharatbook said...

Your post really helpful for my Vulnerability Assessment Market Research and Development.