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A Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for the Namakwa District Municipality – Assessing Vulnerability in the Namakwa District

This study used statistical climate modeling to generate climate change scenarios for NDM. These feed a variety of recommendations for adaptation.


A climate change vulnerability assessment is an evaluation of how vulnerable the systems in a given planning area are to the impacts of climate change. It usually considers the predicted impacts of climate change in the future and takes into account existing pressures and stresses, available resources for responding to climate change, and natrual and man-made limits or thresholds in adaptive capacity.

This climate change vulnerability assessment*identifies climate change risks and impacts for NDMs; profiles the social, economic and institutional conditions that contribute to vulnerability there; assesses local capacity to adapt to climate change; identifies priority areas for Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA); and makes recommendations for EbA, with indicators for measuring changes in vulnerability over time.

*Read the full assessment by clicking on the image above.

Key findings

The report outlines a number of key findings which are summarised below:

​EbA Priority Areas:

  • An EbA priority map was created to identify sites in the NDM which are threatened by the impacts climate change but are likely to respond well to ecosystem based approaches.
    • The map is a spatial tool designed to guide land-use planning and promote sustainable local economic development.

Vulnerability Index:

  • Ecological, socio-economic and institutional vulnerabilities were evaluated against a set of parameters and indicators to derive a summary index of overall vulnerability for the District.
  • The NDM currently has a medium-high vulnerability rating.
  • The assessment should be repeated every 5 years to assess progress made and to facilitate adaptive management of the climate change challenge.


Based on the findings of this stuy, several recommendations are made for NDM’s adaptation to the impacts of climate change:

1) Focus on building socio-economic and institutional capacity and broad-based resilience.

2) An ecosystem services and Ecosystem-based Adaptation approach will need to be put in place to help address core socio-economic vulnerabilities.

3) An effective reduction in socio-economic vulnerability relies on ensuring that the vital ties between people’s livelihoods and security and their natural environment are as sustainabke as possible.

4) Strong, organised and well-funded local institutions will ensure the most effective possible adaptation response.

5) Actions to reduce ecological vulnerability could include:

  • biological stewardship,
  • expanded protection areas, or
  • expanded public works programmes such as Working for Wetlands or Working for Water.


This poster was presented by Conservation South Africa, part of Conservation International.

This poster is one of the posters featured at the 9th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA9) which took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from April 24-30 2015. The CBA series of conferences focus on the latest developments in community-based adaptation to climate change. The theme of this year’s event was “Measuring and enhancing effective adaptation”, and all the posters presented at the conference were summaries of projects related to the conference theme. For more information about CBA9, visit: . If you want to learn more about community based adaptation, please visit the .

Suggested citation

Conservation South Africa. A climate change vulnerability assessment for the Namakwa District Municipality- assessing vulnerability in the Namakwa District.

Further reading

Conservation South Africa’s Building Resilience to Climate Change project overview

Namaqualand Green Economy Demonstration

Conservation South Africa’s Sustainable Communties initiative

Biodiversity stewardship as a mechanism for adaptation to climate change in South Africa

Related resources

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