Vulnerability of rural households to climate change and extremes: Analysis of Chepang households in the Mid-Hills of Nepal

Rural communities, who are dominantly dependent upon natural resources, have always been adjusting their livelihood against the vagaries of climate. With the global climate change, these communities have been placed in greater vulnerability as the weather and extreme events have become more unpredictable. In order to formulate suitable policy measures to address their livelihood, assessment of local level vulnerability is very important. This paper analyzes the micro-level vulnerability of rural Chepang community in Nepal utilizing the data collected from 221 Chepang households from four villages located in four different districts. The analysis is based on indices constructed from carefully selected indicators for exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity. The indicators are weighted using Principal Component Analysis. Inter-village analysis of the vulnerability index indicate that the existing exposure in a locality is often modified at the household level depending upon the inherent adaptive capacity of the households to give the picture of overall vulnerability. Using only the biophysical indicators of vulnerability (exposure and sensitivity) can thus lead to an erroneous policy implication. Furthermore, inter-household analysis of vulnerability indicate that poor households with low adaptive capacity are vulnerable anywhere, irrespective of where they are located. Policy measures and development efforts should be focused towards improving the adaptive capacity of the rural households, while keeping the post-disaster emergency relief measures in place for localities with higher exposure to climate extremes. The poorest households should be the primary target of any interventions.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-08-26

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