Scope Vulnerability Assessment

The following elements are part of the scoping of the vulnerability assessment:

  • Goal / objective of the assessment
  • Client and Stakeholders
  • Scales / boundaries of the assessment
  • Conceptual frame (including qualitative vulnerability pathways and quantitative indicators, including exposed systems and pressures)
  • Scenarios / time frame
  • Indicator selection
  • Policy relevance
  • Presentation / communication of results
  • Stakeholder interaction
  • Coping with different inputs / opinions / projects and uncertainty

These elements have been discussed with the CARPIVIA Steering Committee. The elements will be reevaluated as the project develops. Below these elements are treated in more detail.


Table 1: Summary Scope Vulnerability Assessment


Integral Vulnerability Sssessment


Impact assessment
(first order vulnerability assessment)

Adaptation assessment

Goal / objective

Identify available information on impacts & knowledge gaps. In addition:

·         To raise awareness of causes vulnerability

·         To inform plans & decisions to reduce vulnerability

·         To identify focal areas for further detailed analysis

To identify and discuss the benefits of potential adaptation measures that serve to reduce vulnerability.

To contribute to on-going national or regional adaptation strategies or related policy processes, like the Commission White Paper on Adapting to Climate Change, National or Regional adaptation strategies, a Danube Climate Adaptation Strategy, the EU Knowledge Base on Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation (a.o. via EU Adaptation Clearinghouse).


DG ENV/CLIM, REGIO, AGRI, UNECE, JRC, EEA, ICPDR, the Secretariat of the Framework Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians, National and regional authorities of the Carpathian Region. In particular: Carpathian Convention and its members.


Representatives from water, navigation, agriculture, tourism and energy sector. Next to NGO’s and national, regional local authorities, S4C Network, CERI, participation of private sector

Conceptual frame

·   Pathways / qualitative

·   Indicators / quantitative


The concept of vulnerability will be made operational in view of the particular purpose of a project’s vulnerability assessment. It will consist of a stepwise process. Potential impacts will be assessed by making explicit: (1) what exposed systems are considered, (2) the threats or pressures to which these systems are exposed and (3) what indicators are used to evaluate the impact of the threat on the exposed system. In other words to be explicit about: who or what is vulnerable, to what, and with respect to what?

The quantification of the impact will include: 1) the description of the situation; 2) the application of scenarios to the situation; 3) and assessment of the level of the impact through the application of the indicators.

Focus on adaptive water management and ecosystem based-approaches

Related to specific impacts / stressors and actors. The assessment can be deductive, based on past experiences, or – more useful – inductive, describing the future adaptation outcomes.

Several adaptation measures may have jointly a positive effect on a particular determinant or driver of vulnerability.

Adaptation efforts are closely interweaved with development, making it hard to single out the outcomes only required to strengthen the communities’ standing up to changing climate.

Scales / boundaries system

(landscapes / regions / basins)

Differentiated approach with focus on the mountainous area (search area Carpathian Convention). Link geographical extent to the types of drivers (e.g. flash floods in the mountains). The Danube is not included (e.g. navigation issues on Danube). Effectiveness of measures extends into the Pannonian plain. Differentiated geographical boundaries:

·   Present climate data for larger area, including Pannonian plain etc.;

·   Assess vulnerability of different ecosystems for study area of Carpathian convention;

·   Discuss adaptation option for a number of reference areas (e.g. target river basins)

·   Consider all countries as mentioned in ToR for policy and actor involvement 

Measures currently implemented within the project area or within areas with similar vulnerability.


Since the Terms of Reference asks for emphasis to be given to adaptation of water and ecosystems to climate change and other human induced pressures it is proposed to focus on a number of focal areas which are representative for the main vulnerabilities of concern in the Carpathian region.

Exposed systems

Ecosystems [classified at different levels of detail]

Ecosystem based production systems, services and sectors (agriculture, forestry, energy, tourism, navigation)

Water resources

Human health


Climate pressures:

  • Increasing drought tendency
  • Increasing frequency of heat waves
  • Increasing frequency of both winter floods and torrential flood events

Other anthropogenic pressures that determine vulnerability (relative to climate change)

To provide detailed vulnerability assessment of the whole region impacts of trends in the ecological and socio-economic system at national and regional level will be considered.

Scenarios / time frame

Determined by availability of climate projections and socio-economic trends, as well as national and regional planning horizons. As a starting point, the assessment will cover up to three time slices over the period 2010-2050, building on a.o. the results of the CLAVIER project.

Indicator selection[1]

Link to policy objectives

Focus on the selection of pressure and exposed system specific indicators, rather than indicator aggregation. Other considerations for indicators selection include that they i) can be assessed easily and at a reasonable cost; ii) are policy relevant, clear and informative for resource managers, decision-makers and the general public; iii) reflect the interests, concerns and values of the local population and express major regional issues.

Use: standards for indicators (e.g. ecosystems)

Define traffic light indicator classes? Thresholds[2]?

Do not include indicators of adaptive capacity

Capture costs, benefits and feasibility

Quantitative measurement not possible for all relevant factors. Where the causal relation between various determinants of success is not fully understood, or the available data is not satisfactory, the assessment will rely on suitable proxies & expert judgments.

Assess cost-effectiveness as well as who is responsible, whose objectives

Dealing with cross-sectoral / cross-policy / cross-actor benefits, benefits over time?

Explore concepts and indicators from different perspectives (resilience, multi agent, economic)?

Presentation / communication of results

To be decided in collaboration with users. For consideration: Information can easily be lost in aggregation; concepts are not always clear.

To be decided in collaboration with users. Options include: score cards, maps and spider plots

Stakeholder interaction

Two major interactions and up to 10 presentations of results, considerations include:

• Involve the potential users in methodological and analytical choices that will affect the outcome

• Reaching agreement on development of indices (e.g., factors and indicators to be considered)

• Reaching agreement on the interpretation of the outcome (e.g., what level is particularly vulnerable)

• Validate vulnerability profiles with stakeholders

(• Participatory exercises with vulnerable groups)

Involve in assessment of feasibility

Coping with different inputs / opinions

Uncertainty communication


[1] The vulnerability assessment and indicator selection will take into account the results of recent Guidance documents and workshops, such as the Guidance of UNECE and the Workshop on Climate Vulnerability Indicators, at DG Environment on June 18 in Brussels. In addition, indicator selection will be informed by various past and ongoing projects such as the Aquastress, the Climate Adaptation and the SCENES project.

[2] A new insight is that areas, where climatic changes would push ecosystems towards some kind of threshold, may be more vulnerable, or have higher priority for intervention than other areas (e.g., flood duration beyond which the existence of certain species or ecosystems is in danger). Since this is a new research area, this project we will not analyse such thresholds in detail, but will include a preliminary analysis of how one could deal with such thresholds and give some examples.