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Climate Vulnerability Index

Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation and pollution related issues.


Climate Vulnerability Index


What to study?

  • For Prelims: About the index and key features.
  • For Mains: Significance of the index and vulnerability of Himalayan states and the need for a policy framework to face the challenges.


Context: Scientists have developed a common framework for assessment of climate change vulnerability in all the states in the Himalayan region. They have developed an index based on socio-economic factors, demographic and health status, sensitivity of agricultural production, forest-dependent livelihoods and access to information, services and infrastructure.

The assessment has been done jointly by experts from Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) at Guwahati and Mandi, in collaboration with Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore with support from the Department of Science and Technology  and the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) which is implementing the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Program (IHCAP).


Key findings:

  • The assessment shows that the vulnerability index is the highest for Assam (0.72) and Mizoram (0.71).
  • Sikkim is the least vulnerable state with the index being 0.42. Districts within a state face different degrees of vulnerability based on difference in geographic, climatic, socio-economic and demographic conditions.
  • Assam is highly vulnerable to climate change because of factors like low per capita income, deforestation, large number of marginal farmers, least area under irrigation, lack of alternative sources of income and high rates of poverty.


Significance and the need for vulnerability map:

Receding apple lines, changing cropping patterns, more disasters like landslides and floods, drying springs in hills, spread of vector-borne diseases etc — are being felt all over the Himalayan region, which is one of the most sensitive climate zones globally. However, the vulnerability to climate change varies from state to state and even district to district within a state. It also depends on various socio-economic factors.

Climate adaptation is a collaborative effort between appropriate use of technology, vision that produces policies, change at ground level and engagement of local communities. These vulnerability maps will play a crucial role in this effort.

The vulnerability assessments will be useful for officials, decision makers, funding agencies and experts to have a common understanding on vulnerability and enable them to plan for adaptation.

Sources: down to earth.