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The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations (UN). It bridges the academic world and the UN system. Its goal is to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it aims at applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 and is an autonomous organ of the UN General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.


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Within the framework of the KIBEX project, methods for the vulnerability assessment of population and critical infrastructure towards climate change related extreme events (high intensity rainfall events, storms, droughts and heat waves) will be developed with several representative communities in Germany. Thereby, the close cooperation with local actors (e.g., infrastructure operators, administration, protection agencies) plays an essential role, as important information can only be obtained on this level. The cooperation furthermore enables communities to actively participate in the process of developing action plans according to their needs, especially for disaster management and adaptation strategies.

The project is conducted in cooperation with the German Aerospace Centre (Deutsches Luft- und Raumfahrtzentrum, DLR) as well as with the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Potsdam Institut für Klimafolgenforschung, PIK) and financed by the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschuz und Katastrophenhilfe, BBK).

Time span

November 2009 - June 2013

Key goals

  • Assessment of vulnerabilities of different social groups and Critical Infrastructures to climate change related extreme weather events, particularly heat waves, droughts and flash floods
  • Development of different assessment methods including criteria and indicators to assess the exposure, susceptibility and adaptive capacities of these systems and components of risk
  • Identification of interdependencies of Critical Infrastructures (esp. water supply, electricity supply and transportation)
  • Discussion of the resulting conditions and challenges for civil protection
  • Development of specific and applicable adaptation strategies
  • Exchange of information and experiences with local stakeholders

Working methods

Within the project duration, a variety of methods will contribute to our interdisciplinary approach. Regional climate scenarios will be evaluated in order to assess vulnerabilities and to develop indicators and criteria that also help to evaluate actual and potential adaptation strategies. Furthermore, cartographic data will be analysed in order to create exposure maps and project scenarios for extreme events.

The results of these techniques, in addition to generating further empirical data (conducting expert interviews and surveys), will lead to a more comprehensive vulnerability assessment of populations and Critical Infrastructures, as well as to an understanding of their interdependencies and functional chains in light of climate change and extreme events.

Through regular workshops the close cooperation with local stakeholders will be sought; not only to share information, but also to generate locally grounded data and to systematize actual experiences that can lead to sustainable dissemination and implementation of adaptive strategies and management in cases of extreme events.

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  • Full Report 2013 (German):

Abschätzung der Verwundbarkeit gegenüber Hitzewellen und Starkregen

  • Full Report 2013 (English):

Assessing Vulnerability to Heat Waves and Heavy Rainfall at a Community Level

  • Full Report 2010:

Abschätzung der Verwundbarkeit gegenüber Hochwasserereignissen auf kommunaler Ebene