The Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (RVAA) Programme is part of the Southern African Development Community Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (SADC-FANR) Directorate, implementing the Regional Vulnerability and Assessment Committee’s (RVAC’s) five-year strategic plan. The main focus of this plan is on strengthening national and regional vulnerability assessment and analysis (VAA) systems through institutional support, training and capacity building.
The Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (RVAA) Programme has gradually developed a livelihoods-based vulnerability assessment system, with a number of member states undertaking baseline profiles and analyses of livelihoods that project outcomes for a single year. However, they do not necessarily allow for a projection over a long period, such as twenty or more years, which is needed for studying the livelihood impacts of climate change. Climate change, as an added stressor on livelihood systems, is understood to be more unpredictable with extreme occurrences of hazards (such as droughts and floods).
OneWorld was commissioned to assess the risks and vulnerabilities of these areas, with specific focus on livelihood impacts based on a selection of projected climate scenarios into the future. OneWorld compiled the data and information system prerequisites for undertaking a meaningful climate change analysis, creating problem specifications from each scenario and running these repeatedly at the intervals specified in order to observe whether households were able to recover between hypothetical hazard events or not. The analysis was costed in terms of time and socio-economic costs, quantifying and allowing comparisons between livelihood zones to climate change, as well as providing evidence of possible resilience.
This pilot study aimed at testing out a process of combining long-term downscaled climate projections with livelihoods data, creating a measure of the sensitivity of livelihood systems to climate change. This facilitated an analysis on whether changes in climate and climate variability will lead to periodic losses that households are unable to recover from in time for the next climate hazard—leading to impoverishment and heightened vulnerability.