Strengthening Risk-Informed Decision-Making: Scenarios for Human Vulnerability and Exposure to Extreme Events

Birkmann, Joern, Sorg, Linda, Jamshed, Ali, Sauter, Holger, Fleischhauer, Mark, Greiving, Stefan, Garschagen, Matthias, Sandholz, Simone, Wannewitz, Mia, Bueter, Bjoern, Burmeister, Cornelia and Schneider, Melanie (2019). Strengthening Risk-Informed Decision-Making: Scenarios for Human Vulnerability and Exposure to Extreme Events. Contributing Paper to GAR 2019. UNDRR.

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  • Author Birkmann, Joern
    Sorg, Linda
    Jamshed, Ali
    Sauter, Holger
    Fleischhauer, Mark
    Greiving, Stefan
    Garschagen, Matthias
    Sandholz, Simone
    Wannewitz, Mia
    Bueter, Bjoern
    Burmeister, Cornelia
    Schneider, Melanie
    Title Strengthening Risk-Informed Decision-Making: Scenarios for Human Vulnerability and Exposure to Extreme Events
    Series Title Contributing Paper to GAR 2019
    Publication Date 2019
    Place of Publication Geneva
    Publisher UNDRR
    Pages 35
    Language eng
    Abstract Enhancing the resilience of cities and implementing risk-informed sustainable development are defined as key within the Global Agenda 2030, particularly in the Sustainable Development Goals (UN 2015a), the Sendai Framework (UN 2015b), the Paris Agreement (UN 2015c) and UN Habitat III (UN Habitat 2016, UN 2017). Up to now, various risk assessments at national, sub-national and local level in the context of climate change consider climatic changes in the future and their impacts on specific hazards, such as heat stress, droughts or forest fires. However, implementing risk-informed decision making also requires the consideration of scenarios of exposure and vulnerability. Various risk assessments in the context of climate change examine changes in climatic conditions and respective hazards e.g. for the year 2030, 2050 and 2100, but juxtapose this information with data on vulnerability referring to the present. This is a major mismatch, since not only climatic conditions are changing in the future, but also socio-economic and demographic conditions of people within cities or regions. Consequently, scenarios of climatic changes have to be complemented with scenarios regarding the potential status and development of human vulnerability. The necessity to consider scenarios of human vulnerability for risk-informed decision-making can be illustrated in terms of heat stress risks in cities. Heat stress related risks are not solely a result of local temperature extremes, but also determined by the present and future exposure and vulnerability patterns of people that are affected by the urban heat island effects due to climatic changes and changes in the urban fabric. Hence, risk as the product of the interaction between hazard, exposure and vulnerability is largely socially constructed. Considering changes in future population and particularly changes in the vulnerability of people is quite essential in order to provide an appropriate information base for risk-informed urban planning and emergency management. Against this background, the paper presents selected scenario approaches and illustrates preliminary findings on how such vulnerability scenarios can look like for specific indicators and how they can inform decision making, particularly in the context of urban planning. Based on the BMBF funded research project ZURES (future-oriented vulnerability and risk assessment as a tool to support urban resilience), the paper focuses on medium-sized cities in Germany - particularly the city of Ludwigsburg - that have to deal with population growth requiring the development of new urban areas, while at the same time these cities are also highly exposed to heat stress already due to urbanization and climate change.
    Keyword Vulnerability and exposure scenarios
    Heat Stress
    Urban planning
    Copyright Holder UNDRR
    Copyright Year 2019
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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    Created: Tue, 03 Sep 2019, 00:09:54 JST by Aarti Basnyat on behalf of UNU EHS