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Rural Community Vulnerability Assessments

Cabri and Stewart Valley
Blood Tribe
Pisco Elqui
El Molle
Unit 1A: Assessment of Vulnerabilities of Rural Communities

The main goal of this specific project is to assess the current vulnerability of a group of rural communities and households in the SSRB and ERB. This involves identifying: the conditions that have or are affecting communities and the adaptive capacities that the communities have used in dealing with those conditions.

The main project activities have been:

  1. Baseline data collection for the communities to be studied: Two documents providing a social and biophysical description of the two basins and an initial assessment of the adaptation options were prepared: "A Climate Change Adaptation Study for the South Saskatchewan River Basin" , by Lac, and "Description of the Elqui River Basin", by Cepeda, Fiebig, Morales and Salas. In addition, partners and stakeholders were consulted about the diversity of conditions existing in the basins in order to select the communities to be studied.

  2. Development of working papers: Two methodological papers have been developed by unit members: (a) "Vulnerability of Communities to Environmental Change," by B. Smit, J. Wandel and G. Young, discusses the concept of vulnerability and the vulnerability assessment approach and describes the necessary methodological approach to the assessment of the rural communities; and (b) "Value and Ethical Analysis in Vulnerability to Climate Change: Establishing an Analytic Framework for Identifying, Classifying and Evaluating Vulnerability Issues," by B. Morito, discusses the theoretical and methodological aspects of value analysis in the assessment of the rural communities.

  3. Selection of a group of rural communities: In consultation with partners and stakeholder organizations, 17 communities in the SSRB (12 in Alberta and 5 in Saskatchewan) and 9 communities in the ERB were pre-selected as potential research sites. Specific information for each of the selected communities was gathered and posted in the section "Rural Communities Assesment" of the website. From these initially selected sites 5 communities were selected in Canada-Cabri, Stewart Valley, and Outlook in Saskatchewan, and Taber, Hanna and the Blood Tribe reservation in Alberta-and four in Chile: Diaguitas, Marquesa, Pisco Elqui and El Molle.

  4. Design of instruments and gathering of information about communities: A fieldwork guide was developed to assist with the assessment of each community along four lines of inquiry: (a) the conditions (exposures or stresses) faced by the community; (b) how the community has dealt with those conditions (institutionally and individually); (c) the assessment of the community of external institutions that have constrained or facilitated the community's ability to deal with those conditions; and (d) the assessment of the capacity of communities to deal with possible changes in the future. As well, a resource guide to community vulnerability assessment, which identifies and discusses several ethnographic data-gathering techniques, and a guide to NVivo, a qualitative data analysis software, were developed to support the community assessment work.

  5. Ethnographic work: In 2007 the assessment of all communities was completed. Data was gathered from Cabri, Stewart Valley, Hanna, Outlook, Taber and the Blood Tribe in Canada, and Pisco Elqui, Diaguitas, Marquesa and El Molle in Chile.

  6. Data analysis and interpretation, reports: The final reports are available here : Canadian communities and Chilean communities. Reports from the analysis of the data collected during the ethnographic work have also been completed and are available below.

Proposals and Participants
• Original Proposal
• Research Team
• Advisory Board
• Partners
• Policy Relevant
• Reports
• Documents
• Theses
• Books & Special Publications

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