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.