To make your application clearer, you should answer the following five questions before starting the vulnerability assessment process. 

1. Is your focus on a geographical area or an economic sector?

The area-oriented application aims at identifying the major challenges and chances generated by climate change in a local area. It looks at the overall level of society and spans all kinds of economic activities.

The activity-oriented application is concerned with the challenges and chances facing a specific activity; be it an economic sector, a specific organisation (such as the activities carried out by a municipal department), or a specific social group. The activity-oriented approach often aims at developing a response strategy for this particular activity.

You could also question how climate change considerations should be integrated in your existing work or in a specific institutional context or process. This approach would likely be less concerned with the major challenges and chances and more concerned about how to respond to possible changes, i.e., what methods will be best to use? 

2. Is your focus on mitigation, adaptation or both?

The most important thing is that you decide where to place your emphasis. If your focus is on both climate mitigation and adaptation, it is important that you address them separately in each of the exercises, in order not to omit important aspects. The focus could also be on the degree of emphasis on either or both climate mitigation and climate adaptation. 

3. Is your focus on challenges, chances or both?

The focus can be placed on the positive and/or negative aspects related to climate change, i.e., on the chances or challenges generated by climate change or both. The most important thing here is also that you decide where to place your emphasis. If your focus is on both challenges and chances, it is important that you address them separately in each of the exercises, in order not to omit important aspects. 

4. Is your focus on stressors, impacts, response measures or integrated vulnerability?

In order to make it easier to proceed, try to think whether your focus will be on:

- identifying the stressors, i.e., on climate and socio-economic changes that have an impact on you?
- analysing how a changing climate and society might affect your activity?
- how you could meet the challenges and chances generated by climate change?

If your main concern is identification of stressors, then you will not need to perform the block on response action. If you intend to conduct an integrated vulnerability assessment, then it will be necessary to do the tasks under each block.

5. What resources and materials are available to support your process?

The quality and the richness of your group discussions and consequently the value and depth of your output will correlate with the degree of data and material you are able to feed into the assessment. It is important to underscore that these kinds of processes require large amounts of data about various issues. It is therefore important that you decide how you will collect and use data in the assessment process.

- Will you prepare the support material yourself?
- Will you use material generated by consultants?
- Will you use data (climate scenarios, etc.) available through open sources?
- Are there any funds available for in-depth studies?

As in many other environmental and economic assessments the hardest step is often to establish the linkages between the climatic changes and various social activities, i.e., the sensitivity dimension of the assessment. Despite the rapidly growing number of impact studies becoming available, this knowledge is fragmented and often inaccessible for many local actors. In this case, it is possible to utilise your knowledge about the system or area in focus to identify the major weaknesses of these structures (and potential). Here you will find it useful to involve those who are directly involved in operating these structures. 

- What resources are available for analytical support?
- Where will you find support material?
- Who will collect and summarise this material?


Go further to Steps of the Vulnerability Assessment process