IVAVIA guideline

Impact and Vulnerability Analysis of Vital Infrastructures and builtup Areas

Project EU H2020 RESIN (GA no. 653522)
Work Package 2
Lead participant 2 (Fraunhofer)
Due date
Submission date
Authors Erich Rome, Manfred Bogen, Daniel Lückerath, Hans Voss, Norman Voß, Rainer Worst (Fraunhofer)
Contributors Jeremy Carter, Angela Connelly, Jean-Marie Cariolet, Maddalen Mendizabal Zubeldia, Estibaliz Sanz Gogeascoechea, Matthew Ellis
The full document in PDF version can be downloaded here

1 Introduction

1.1 Aim of the IVAVIA guideline

This document shall offer a practical guideline for conducting a Risk-based process for assessing Impacts and vulnerabilities of urban areas and their infrastructure related to consequences of Climate Change. The objective of this guideline is to describe the methodology in a way that is understandable for the stakeholders, thus providing the base for the collaborative execution of a Vulnerability Assessment according to IVAVIA (Impact and Vulnerability Analysis of Vital Infrastructures and built-up Areas). IVAVIA is a result of the EU H2020 project RESIN, however this guideline is addressed not only to the RESIN city partners but should also enable wider user cities to implement IVAVIA according to this guideline.

The contents of this document are based on the specifications given in deliverable “D2.1 Design IVAVIA”, which should be used for further reading. The structure of this guideline is an adaptation of the modules introduced in D2.1, which are themselves based on “The Vulnerability Sourcebook” published by the German Society for International Collaboration (GIZ), cf BMZ, 2014.

The overall aim of a Risk-based Vulnerability Assessment using IVAVIA is to facilitate the understanding of cause-effect relationships of climate change and to assess what Impact on people, economy and built-up area under study can be expected now and for the future due to the changing climate. It enables the identification of geographical hotspots of Vulnerability, which can be used as entry-points for adaptation measures. The identification of these hotspots will enable prioritizing the areas where actions are needed first.


1.2 Guideline document structure

The remainder of this introduction characterises the target audience of IVAVIA, introduces some important concepts that are prerequisite for following the guide, and finally locates IVAVIA in the RESIN conceptual framework. The main part of the document describes in detail the steps for realising the nine modules of IVAVIA.

Although this guideline is self-contained, it assumes a reader with a basic knowledge in CC Risk Assessment (e.g., provided by the IPPC AR5 reports). For convenience, Appendix A provides definitions of the most essential terms from the RESIN glossary. Appendix B provides a set of Vulnerability-related indicators from the Mayors Adapt reporting guidelines. Appendix C contains sample Impact Chain diagrams. Appendix D includes references to relevant information sources regarding data, policy documents, case studies, and more.
Disclaimer for the second draft version (June 2017): Module description of IVAVIA module 8 is currently only rudimentary. A first full version of the guideline document is planned to be ready in August 2017.


1.3 Target audience of IVAVIA

The person addressed by this guideline at first hand is the coordinator or manager of the city’s overall Risk-based Vulnerability Assessment project or the responsible for the climate change adaptation planning. This coordinator could be a member of the city administration, or someone externally hired. If the overall manager has been hired externally, then the next primary audience for this document are the persons in the city administration who will survey and monitor the project from within the administration, and therefore intimately collaborate with the external manager. In general, the coordinator must tailor the methodology described in this guideline before its practical application. This includes the translation into the local language as well as the adaptation of terms in official language according to the given situation. The RESIN eguide provides valuable support for this task. Localized how-to guides, templates, and software tools will enable a broader audience in the city to understand the underlying methodology of IVAVIA and to contribute to its application.


1.4 Important IVAVIA concepts you would need to know

When conducting a Risk-based Vulnerability Assessment, the object under study is a geographical area defined by its natural / physical environment, its built environment, its inhabitants, economic activities, and societal characteristics. The specific geographical areas considered by the RESIN project are:

  • The city and its wider boundaries (i.e. its functional area)
  • The administrative boundaries of the city
  • A smaller district or neighbourhood within a city’s administrative boundaries

The ultimate result of the Risk-based Vulnerability Assessment process is a characterisation of the climate change Risk potentially imposed on the area under study. The scale of IVAVIA may be the same as stated above for the RESIN project in general, but it mainly depends on the availability of indicators and data for the investigated area.

For IVAVIA, we will focus on Risks that are imposed by occurrences of climate-change-related Hazards and climate or non-climate-related Drivers; the latter are also known as Stressors. The specific type and intensity of the considered Hazard will strongly determine the factors that ultimately define the Risk. In addition to the type and intensity of the considered Hazard, the probability of its future occurrences is another decisive factor of the Risk Assessment. In this sense, Risk is determined as a combination of expected occurrences of Hazards and the estimated damages they might cause. Mathematically, one would speak of the expected value of events of loss or damage.

You may apply probability in the classical statistical way as a number between 0 and 1; 0 stands for completely improbable or “will definitely not occur” in the prospected future, and 1 stands for “will definitely occur” in the prospected future. Here, the prospected future refers to the time horizon that will have to be determined for the climate change-related Risk Assessment. According to IPCC, climate modellers often use scenarios that look forward 100 years and more (IPCC 2014a, p. 1146); however, time horizons of about 20 years may be more appropriate for policy makers.

In most applications, the probability is not calculated as a quantitative value because the available data about prior occurrences of Hazards and their future occurrences do not allow deriving exact quantitative values. Instead, many Risk Assessments reasonably apply categorical or qualitative values. For example, one might use the categories: very frequent, frequent, slight chance, unlikely, very unlikely.

Figure 1: A Risk-adapted Vulnerability Assessment schema

Figure 1: A Risk-adapted Vulnerability Assessment schema
Source: Own design by Fraunhofer IAIS

Figure 1 shows the different underlying elements of the Risk concept of IVAVIA: Drivers, Hazard, Exposure, Stressors, Sensitivity, Coping Capacity and Vulnerability. The arrows depict the relationship between these concepts. Risk will finally be computed as the product of probability of the Hazard and the intensity of the Impacts and consequences. With this in mind, one can understand IVAVIA as a Risk Assessment with a Vulnerability Assessment component (or shortened: as a Risk-based Vulnerability Assessment).

Figure 1 and Figure 2 show that estimation of Risk/Vulnerability and their components (Exposure, Stressors, Sensitivity and Coping Capacity) are strongly dependent on the type and intensity of the considered Hazard. Your city is and will be differently affected depending on the different types of Hazards, e.g. storm, flooding, draught and heat wave. More formally, a Hazard is defined as “…the potential occurrence of a natural or human-induced physical event or trend, or physical Impact that may cause loss of life, injury, or other health Impacts, as well as damage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service provision, and environmental resources.” (IPCC 2014a, see also glossary in the annex of this document and cf RESIN Glossary D1.2). A climate-change-related Hazard is a special case that is (at least partially) caused by climate-related Drivers.

Which objects in your city are potentially hit by a Hazard is captured by the concept of Exposure. More formally, Exposure is the presence of people, livelihoods, species or ecosystems, environmental services and resources, infrastructure, or economic, social, or cultural assets in places that could be adversely affected in a specific location. Exposure determines the potential damage or losses, e.g. if you have 40,000 buildings in your city you possibly know that potentially all of them could be hit by a flood.

Not climate-related trends and events, which are called Stressors, can have an important effect on the system exposed. Examples are population growth or change of land-use; a larger percentage of sealed surface will in general increase the probability of flooding events and thus the risk for all exposed objects.

Different objects are more or less sensitive to a Hazard: a well-built stone house is less sensitive to a storm than a wooden shack, for example. This is captured by the concept of Sensitivity. Formally, Sensitivity may be defined as the degree to which an exposed object, species or system could be affected by the considered Hazard. You can perceive it as an inherent attribute of an exposed object.

Figure 2: Vulnerability is Hazard specific. The same object of analysis may be differently vulnerable to various Hazards. Columns represent Impact Chains.

Figure 2: Vulnerability is Hazard specific. The same object of analysis may be differently vulnerable to various Hazards. Columns represent Impact Chains.

Your city as a whole will have some means of coping with a Hazard, e.g. you have flood barriers and/or ready and trained emergency personnel. These kinds of capacities are captured by the concept of Coping Capacity. Formally, Coping Capacity is the ability of people, institutions, organizations, and systems, using available skills, values, beliefs, resources, and opportunities, to address, manage, and overcome adverse conditions in the short to medium term.

Vulnerability’ is then derived from the interplay of the elements Stressors, ‘Sensitivity’, and ‘Coping Capacity’. It contributes directly to the impact or consequences that a hazard causes to the exposed objects.

Adaptive Capacity versus Coping Capacity – what is the difference?

Since this step is one of the significant changes with respect to the original Vulnerability Sourcebook (VSB – BMZ 2014), we provide an explanation here. In the VSB, this step would comprise the determining of Adaptive Capacity. Adaptive Capacity (or adaptability) is defined in the IPCC AR5 (2014a) as “The ability of systems, institutions, humans, and other organisms to adjust to potential damage, to take advantage of opportunities, or to respond to consequences.” Adaptive Capacity has a medium to long-term perspective and determines the capacity for adaptation, which is a subsequent stage of the cycle of assessment of climate Risk, adaptation planning, and implementation (Figure 3). For the assessment of Risk related to climate change, the concept of Coping Capacity is better suited. The IPCC AR5 (2014a) defines Coping Capacity as “The ability of people, institutions, organizations, and systems, using available skills, values, beliefs, resources, and opportunities, to address, manage, and overcome adverse conditions in the short to medium term.”

In this sense, Adaptive Capacity could be viewed as the ‘room to move’ for adaptation: the capacity for increasing the Coping Capacity, reducing the Sensitivity, reducing the severity of Impacts, and reducing the influence of Stressors. Therefore, Adaptive Capacity should be considered when determining adaptation options and for adaptation planning.


1.5 IVAVIA in the Climate Change Adaptation Framework

It is important to note that the relative importance of Hazards and Drivers might change over longer time periods, which often necessitates the re-assessment of Risk. The overall RESIN conceptual model explicitly supports periodic re-assessment cycles including modifying adaptation options, strategies or the types of Hazards to be considered.

Figure 3: The RESIN Conceptual Framework

Figure 3: The RESIN Conceptual Framework
Source: Carter et al., 2016

The RESIN Conceptual Framework (RCF) views the city as a ‘system of systems’ comprised of social, ecological and technical sub-systems which overlap and interact with one another. Cities are influenced by multiple and interacting Drivers of change; only one of which is climate change. The RCF situates climate change adaptation and resilience processes and outcomes within this complexity, and shows how these agendas may be progressed.

Figure 3 clearly illustrates the positioning of climate Risk Assessment as a starting point for subsequent activities devoted to climate adaptation, Risk avoidance and resilience building. All activities must be monitored, evaluated and re-assessed in the midand long-term perspective. That is, as an element of the right hand cyclic process shown in Figure 3, IVAVIA would have to be repeated regularly. A re-assessment of the Risk related to climate change would be the start of a new iteration of the process of adaptation to climate change.


1.6 Relevant Hazards in the context of IVAVIA

Figure 4 illustrates the most important natural Hazards that occurred in 2015 in a worldwide map developed by Munich RE. In addition to climate-related Hazards, it also shows geophysical events. The combination of both categories is then termed “Natural loss events”. For this guideline, we will only consider climate-related (natural) Hazards.

Figure 4: Natural loss events 2015 as comprised of geophysical events and climate-related Hazards. Source: Munich Re.

Figure 4: Natural loss events 2015 as comprised of geophysical events and climate-related Hazards.
Source: Munich Re.

Presenting a comprehensive list and a discussion of all potential climate-related Hazards at this point would be tedious and unnecessary for the purposes of this guideline. For a more detailed explanation of such Hazards, we refer to the RESIN State of the Art report on Hazards: Carter, 2015. In previous discussions with the RESIN Tier 1 cities (Bilbao, Bratislava, Manchester, and Paris), the set of Hazards relevant for their concerns has already been constrained to the following clearly arranged set in the categories of climatological and hydrological events, as specified in Carter (2015):

There will be others that may be relevant to cities, but that they are not covered in detail here or in the RESIN project, e.g. forest fires, land instability, groundwater flooding, storms and high winds. Next, the event categories of flooding, heat waves, droughts, and scarcity of potable water will be explained in more detail.

Flooding. The Risk of flooding is addressed in the “European Water Directive” 2007/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the European Council of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood Risks. Its preamble §10, particularly brings the member states and their cities and regions into action:

“Throughout the Community different types of floods occur, such as river floods, flash floods, urban floods and floods from the sea in coastal areas. The damage caused by flood events may also vary across the countries and regions of the Community. Hence, objectives regarding the management of flood risks should be determined by the Member States themselves and should be based on local and regional circumstances.”

All types of flooding may cause a flood within urban areas. Floods may occur slowly, or very fast. The latter case is reflected by the collective term Flash Floods caused by storm surges that may occur in short time. For coastal low lying, flat areas storm surges with relatively low power may cause relatively high damage. A high tide at the time of a storm surge intensifies potential damage.

Fluvial flooding occurs when rivers carry excessive amounts of waters so it overflows over the edges of a river or stream. Excessive water is caused by longer periods of high precipitation. Another, or additional reason, could be heavy snow and ice melt.

Pluvial flooding, which is also called surface flooding or urban flooding, is caused by a lack of drainage in an urban area after high intensity rainfall. Hillsides that are unable to absorb flowing water from precipitation can be particular mean sources of urban flooding.

Heat wave. The notion of “heat wave” – as it would be the case for a cold wave – needs further clarification, as it is a relative concept. Temperatures that could be felt as a cold wave in India would still be regarded as a heat wave in Sweden. Therefore, a heat wave clearly depends on the normal conditions for a given time of year in the respective place. As a consequence, definitions of heat waves vary from country to country, and from region to region within larger countries. In England and Wales, the Meteorological Office foresees four explicitly defined levels of heat wave above threshold average conditions for an area. Each level raises the state of awareness and public welfare.

Figure 5: Heat waves of summer 2015 (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitzewellen_in_Europa_2015)

Figure 5: Heat waves of summer 2015 (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitzewellen_in_Europa_2015)

Many countries apply the definition of the World Meteorological Organization defining it a heat wave “when the daily maximum temperature of more than five consecutive days exceeds the average maximum temperature by 5 °C, the normal period being 1961-1990”. The recent past has seen several heat waves all over Europe, in many cases already causing high numbers of casualties. Figure 5 shows the exceptional maximum temperatures reached over Europe in summer of 2015. The future may prevent that these kinds of summers will not be the typical ones in, say, 2030.

Drought and water scarcity.

The US National Weather Service defines “Drought is a deficiency in precipitation over an extended period, usually a season or more, resulting in a water shortage causing adverse Impacts on vegetation, animals, and/or people. It is a normal, recurrent feature of climate that occurs in virtually all climate zones, from very wet to very dry. Drought is a temporary aberration from normal climatic conditions, thus it can vary significantly from one region to another. Drought is different than aridity, which is a permanent feature of climate in regions where low precipitation is the norm, as in a desert.” (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/brochures/climate/DroughtPublic2.pdf)

The National Drought Mitigation Center, USA, defines drought as “less rainfall than is expected over an extended period of time, usually several months or longer. Or, more formally, it is a deficiency of rainfall over a period of time, resulting in a water shortage for some activity, group, or environmental sector.” (http://drought.unl.edu/DroughtBasics.aspx, http://drought.unl.edu/DroughtBasics/Glossary.aspx)

The company Live Science (http://www.livescience.com/21469-drought-definition.html) discusses drought definitions on their web page. Interestingly, they distinguish four main categories of drought:

  • “Meteorological drought is specific to different For example, 20 inches (51 centimeters) of rainfall in a year is normal in West Texas, but the same amount would be less than half the yearly average in Virginia.
  • Agricultural drought accounts for the water needs of crops during different growing stages. For instance, not enough moisture at planting may hinder germination, leading to low plant populations and a reduction in
  • Hydrological drought refers to persistently low water volumes in streams, rivers and reservoirs. Human activities, such as drawdown of reservoirs, can worsen hydrological droughts. Hydrological drought is often linked with meteorological
  • Socioeconomic drought occurs when the demand for water exceeds the Examples of this kind of drought include too much irrigation or when low river flow forces hydroelectric power plant operators to reduce energy production.”

The EU defines “Droughts can be considered as a temporary decrease of the average water availability due to e.g. rainfall deficiency. Droughts can occur anywhere in Europe, in both high and low rainfall areas and in any seasons. The Impact of droughts can be exacerbated when they occur in a region with low water resources or where water resources are not being properly managed resulting in imbalances between water demands and the supply capacity of the natural system.” (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/water/quantity/about.htm)

Droughts as natural phenomena have always occurred and been well documented for hundreds or thousands of years. Worldwide, climate change is resulting in more precipitation. An increasing global warming is, however, also resulting in more intensive, and more frequent droughts and accompanying erosion in areas such as East-Africa and various parts of Australia.

Scarcity of potable water.

“Water scarcity occurs where there are insufficient water resources to satisfy long-term average requirements. It refers to long-term water imbalances, combining low water availability with a level of water demand exceeding the supply capacity of the natural system.”


2 IVAVIA module descriptions

Overall, the IVAVIA methodology recommends following a sequence of nine major tasks (called modules), which are described in the following sections. You should not be afraid by the amount of single steps; they establish a structure for the whole process according to the well-known principle of “divide and conquer”.

Figure 6 shows the sequence of the nine modules, which are based on the eight modules of the Vulnerability Sourcebook [BMZ2014]. Except for M7, we have kept the names of the modules, although the steps inside the modules often differ due to the adaptation of the assessment to a Risk-based process.

Figure 6: The nine IVAVIA modules (based on the eight modules of the Vulnerability Source- book M1-M8)

Figure 6: The nine IVAVIA modules (based on the eight modules of the Vulnerability Sourcebook M1-M8)

In general, you will execute the modules in the given sequence, because there is input needed from previous modules. The whole process will last between some weeks until some years, depending on the size of the city and the scope of the evaluation, to be defined in step 3 of module 1. IVAVIA is flexible enough to include existing material from previous attempts if you are not starting from scratch. The highlighted part in Figure 6, Modules 0, 1, and 2, are covered by this first draft of the guideline document.

Each module description contains information about who will conduct a particular step, which input you need for it, and which output should be created. The single output items are numbered according to the scheme m.s.n., where m represents the module, s the step, and n the sequence within the step. Example: 1.5.2 means the second output item of step 5 of  module 1 because every input item refers to such a number, you can easily see where a specific input item comes from. An input item created by an external source is marked with “EXT”.

To access the description of a specific module, use the following links:

Module 0: Systematically Selecting Hazards and Stressors

Module 1: Preparing the Vulnerability Assessment

Module 2: Developing Impact Chains

Module 3: Identifying Indicators and Data Acquisition

Module 4: Normalisation, Weighing, and Aggregation of Indicators

Module 5: Aggregation Components to Vulnerability/Risk

Module 6: Presenting the Results of IVAVIA