What is social vulnerability?

Course video 11 of 40

Climate Change Vulnerability is a concept that evolved in science in order to include the multiple risks that cities, populations or ecosystems are facing from various sources, including climate change but without discounting the role that existing and future socio-economic and political conditions play. In the first video you will understand the evolution of the concept of climate vulnerability and distinguish between different forms of vulnerability. Social Vulnerability refers to the distinction between the biophysical and human dimensions of vulnerability. This distinction is important because it emphasizes the characteristics of people and social groups that make them more or less vulnerable to climate change hazards and that also influence their ability to respond. In the second video you will understand what are these factors and will be able to assess certain hazards and their risk factors for social vulnerability. Social Vulnerability to climate change can be operationalized, i.e. assessed or calculated for a given region or population. Scholars have developed different methods to do so. In the third video you will learn about two most of the most common approaches to calculating Social Vulnerability, which is often done with a composite index and mapping. An example from a Social Vulnerability Assessment in Southern Africa will be used as case study. The fourth video identifies some of the main hazards facing African urban centres, and then explores the drivers of vulnerability for individuals, groups of urban residents, and cities. It concludes that both external threats and internal factors will shape the experiences of African cities in a context of climate change.

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