Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation



The Programme of Research on Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PROVIA) is a global initiative which aims to provide direction and coherence at the international level for research on vulnerability, impacts and adaptation (VIA). Launched with the support of leading scientists and decision-makers, PROVIA responds to the urgent call by the scientific community for a more cohesive and coordinated approach, and the critical need to harmonize, mobilize, and communicate the growing knowledge-base on VIA.

Acknowledging emerging policy strategies, new scientific developments and lessons learnt from past programmes, PROVIA promises to deliver, in collaboration with its implementing partners, improved coordination of international research on the impacts of and responses to climate change, and provide the credible scientific information that is being increasingly requested by the world’s decision makers.

One of the four pillars of PROVIA the production a guidance document on methods for climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessment. This activity includes the revision of guidance in VIA assessment produced by the IPCC and UNEP in 1994 and 1996 respectively.


Funded by:

PROVIA activities are funded by ProVIA through the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).



The guidance document provides methodological guidance on assessing climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation (VIA) as well as on implementing, monitoring and evaluating adaptation. This encompasses a wide range of tasks addressed by a diversity of methods. While many previous guidances have focused on particular tasks or methods, this guidance presents a novel approach to integrating these into a coherent framework. We thereby emphasise the diversity of adaptation situations considered as well as the diversity of approaches and methods needed.

Another innovative feature is that this document provides guidance on which methods are applicable for which situation. The guidance presents criteria and decision-trees that guide the reader through a series of methodological choices to select appropriate methods for VIA.

The methodological choices are organised according to five general stages of what we call the adaptation

learning cycle, which are i) identifying vulnerability and impacts; ii) identifying adaptation options; iii) appraising adaptation options; iv) planning and implementing adaptation; and v) monitoring and evaluation. Note that this is an idealized model of problem-solving or decision-making and “real-world” adaptation processes need not be linear. Rather, real-world adaptation is often messy and not a clean cycle. Acknowledging this, the guidance is flexible by providing multiple entry points, which allows the reader to enter at various stages or substages of the process.



PROVIA, 2013: Guidance on Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation. Consultation draft, United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya, xx pp.

Hinkel, J. and Bisaro, A. 2013. A diagnostic framework for problem-oriented climate adaptation research. Regional Environmental Change. In review.

Bisaro, A. and Hinkel, J. 2013. Influencing public and private adaptation: a diagnostic framework for identifying adaptation governance challenges. Ecology and Society. In review.


Sandy Bisaro



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