Indicator Assessment Protocol for the Vulnerability Assessment for the Panj-Amu River Basin


The Indicators and Assessment Protocol for the Vulnerability Assessment report presents the methodologies employed in the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Panj-Amu River Basin, Afghanistan. The assessment covers six broad sectors for which ecosystems, wildlife, and local communities can be considered vulnerable from climate change. Vulnerability has been described as the 'state of susceptibility to harm from exposure to stresses associated with environmental and social change and from the absence of capacity to adapt'. In the context of climate change, vulnerability is the extent to which an ecosystem, species, or community is threatened with decline, reduced fitness, genetic loss, or extinction owing to climate change.

Vulnerability is typically composed of three components. Exposure refers to the extent of climate change likely to be experienced in a particular location and depends on the rate and magnitude of climate change. Sensitivity refers to the degree to which the survival, persistence, fitness, performance, or regeneration of an ecosystem, species, or community is dependent on prevailing climate conditions. Adaptive capacity refers to the capacity of an ecosystem, species, or community to cope with climate change through persistence, by shifting location, attitudes, or behaviors, or by moving to new regions.

Several indicators are presented within each sector that together allow for an assessment of vulnerability along the dimensions of exposure, sensitivity, and/or adaptive capacity. The Indicators and Assessment Protocol Report serves as technical guidance to stakeholders and those collecting primary field data for climate vulnerability analyses and describes the analytical tools and approaches to enable others to perform a climate vulnerability assessment. While the report was developed in the context of a climate change vulnerability assessment for teh Panj-Amu River Basin, and serves as a companion to that associated report, the underlying principles and methodological and analytical frameworks were developed to apply to a wide range of geographic, ecological, and socioeconomic contexts. Furthermore, several data resources are outlined in tables that contain links to global datasets and datasets for other geographic contexts to facilitate wider application.

For each sector within the climate vulnerability assessment, the report provides a description of:

  1. The background and scientific justification for its inclusion
  2. The indicators determining vulnerability
  3. The category of the indicator
  4. The necessary data sources to perform the vulnerability assessment
  5. The specific methodologies for field data collection, modeling, and data analysis

Each section is supported by scientific literature, reports, and other authoritative citations.