Towards the Development of an Adapted Multi-hazard Risk Assessment Framework for the West Sudanian Savanna Zone

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  • 2015•07•16     Bonn

    The United Nations University – Institute of Environment and Human Security has just released a new working paper titled, “Towards the Development of an Adapted Multi-hazard Risk Assessment Framework for the West Sudanian Savanna Zone”.

    West Africa is a region considered highly vulnerable to climate change and associated with natural
    hazards due to interactions of climate change and non-climatic stressors exacerbating the
    vulnerability of the region, particularly its agricultural system (IPCC, 2014b). Taking the Western
    Sudanian Savanna as our geographic target area, this paper seeks to develop an integrated risk
    assessment framework that incorporates resilience as well as multiple hazards concepts, and is
    applicable to the specific conditions of the target area.

    To provide the scientific basis for the framework, the paper will first define the following key terms
    of risk assessments in a climate change adaptation context: risk, hazard, exposure, vulnerability,
    resilience, coping and adaptation. Next, it will discuss the ways in which they are conceptualized and
    employed in risk, resilience and vulnerability frameworks. When reviewing the literature on existing
    indicator-based risk assessment for West African Sudanian Savanna zones, it becomes apparent that
    there is a lack of a systematic and comprehensive risk assessment capturing multiple natural

    The paper suggests an approach for linking resilience and vulnerability in a common framework for
    risk assessment. It accounts for societal response mechanism through coping, adaptation, disaster
    risk management and development activities which may foster transformation or persistence of the
    social ecological systems. Building on the progress made in multi-hazard assessments, the
    framework is suitable for analyzing multiple-hazard risks and existing interactions at hazard and
    vulnerability levels. While the framework is well grounded in theories and existing literature, and
    advances the knowledge by including and linking additional elements, it still remains to be tested

    Read the complete working paper.