Expert consultations on delta vulnerability indicator selection 

The United Nations University team members (PI Fabrice Renaud and Zita Sebesvari) of the BF-DELTAS project are leading the stakeholder workshops at three case study sites, to assess how the Global Delta Vulnerability Index (GDVI) can be designed to be most useful for managers and decisions makers in these regions.

Photo credits:  Zita Sebesvari

1.  Mekong Delta

The first of these workshops, focused on the Mekong delta, was held on April 2-3, 2014 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in collaboration with local BF-DELTAS partners HCMC Institute of Resources Geography, and Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST).  

The purpose of the workshop was to gather inputs and opinions of various stakeholders on current and future hazards and vulnerabilities at the sub-delta (upper, middle, coastal) level. It also provided an opportunity to begin with the development of a delta vulnerability index applicable for the Mekong Delta at the sub-delta level by integrating social and ecological elements and first judgments on data quality accessibility. As vulnerability methodologies and indices are a function of different factors (vulnerability of whom to what?), the workshop gathered experts from across the natural and social sciences disciplines and from science and governmental organizations, from NGOs, as well as independent experts. The participants familiarized themselves with vulnerability concepts, frameworks and indicators and provided their insights into current and future hazards as well as exposure, sensitivities and coping/adaptation capacities under selected hazards. 

The workshop yielded an expert-based delineation of sub-delta areas with respective current and projected hazards as well as a preliminarily set of social-ecological indicators to characterize vulnerability to floods (upper delta), enhanced variability in river discharge and associated droughts (middle delta) and coastal erosion paired with salinity intrusion (coastal zone).

2.  Ganges Brahmaputra Meghna (GBM) Delta

The second of these workshops focused on the Ganges Brahmaputra Meghna deltaheld on September 3-14, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in collaboration with the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) of Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) represented by Dr. Saleemul Huq and colleagues.        

Throughout the workshop the organizers provided input presentations, followed by group work and plenary discussions. The outcomes of the workshop include: 1) “Mapping” the hazard landscape: GBM delta sub-regions and relevant hazards, 2) Development of Impact Diagrams for selected hazards on local and national scale, and 3) Selection of indicators to characterize the vulnerability of sub-delta systems with respect to the identified hazards. 

3.  Amazon Delta

The third of these workshops focused on the Amazon deltaheld on May 12-13, 2015 in Belém, Para, Brazil, in collaboration with BF-DELTAS partner Indiana University at Bloomington (PI Eduardo Brondizio and Nathan Vogt) and local partners such as the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, and Universidade Federal do Pará and Universidad de Cádiz.  

A total of 31 participants representing government, non-governmental, and research institutions from the states of Para and Amapa participated. Three main sets of products were generated. First, a participatory mapping exercise to sub-divide the Amazon estuary delta into sub-regions was carried out followed by the identification of current and emerging social and environmental problems. Second, diagrams of impact and identification of indicators were developed for each category of problems identified. Third, the group discussed and defined a list of priority areas for research and collaboration with stakeholders. This exercise generated an initial proposal for an integrated research agenda for the region. A first draft of the proposed research priorities has been circulated to the participants for discussion and editing. The agenda will be used to mobilize collaborations and resources for a ten-year integrated research program in the region.