Mapping Vulnerability to Climate Change

20 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

Date Written: January 1, 2011


This paper develops a methodology for regional disaggregated estimation and mapping of the areas that are ex-ante the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and variability and applies it to Tajikistan, a mountainous country highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The authors construct the vulnerability index as a function of exposure to climate variability and natural disasters, sensitivity to the impacts of that exposure, and capacity to adapt to ongoing and future climatic changes. This index can inform decisions about adaptation responses that might benefit from an assessment of how and why vulnerability to climate change varies regionally and it may therefore prove a useful tool for policy analysts interested in how to ensure pro-poor adaptation in developing countries. Index results for Tajikistan suggest that vulnerability varies according to socio-economic and institutional development in ways that do not follow directly from exposure or elevation: geography is not destiny. The results indicate that urban areas are by far the least vulnerable, while the eastern Region of Republican Subordination mountain zone is the most vulnerable. Prime agricultural valleys are also relatively more vulnerable, implying that adaptation planners do not necessarily face a trade-off between defending vulnerable areas and defending economically important areas. These results lend support to at least some elements of current adaptation practice.

Keywords: Population Policies, Climate Change Mitigation and Green House Gases, Science of Climate Change, Climate Change Economics, Adaptation to Climate Change

Suggested Citation

Heltberg, Rasmus and Bonch-Osmolovskiy, Misha, Mapping Vulnerability to Climate Change (January 1, 2011). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5554, Available at SSRN:

Rasmus Heltberg (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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