Assets for health: linking vulnerability, resilience and adaptation to climate change

Dr. A R Nunes

 

Human health risks and impacts from climate change constitute significant threats. Reducing vulnerability, increasing resilience and improving adaptation to climate change is vital, but what shapes them is still poorly understood. To examine what shapes human vulnerability, resilience and adaptation, and the connections that exist between these concepts. A literature review focused on assets, human vulnerability, resilience and adaptation drawing on the disciplinary fields of health, sociology, disaster science and environmental science is presented in this paper.

Research on these concepts has seen a growing interest in recent decades, but has been limited by the fact that they emerged and evolved from different disciplinary perspectives. As a result, diverse and frequently contended definitions have been conducive to inadequate and poorly defined use. Despite this, interdisciplinary understandings of how human vulnerability, resilience and adaptation to climate change are shaped by are still scarce. Assets (e.g. human, financial, physical, social and place-based) have been found to play an important role in shaping human vulnerability, resilience and adaptation and can thus, be used to make connections between these concepts.

An interdisciplinary approach allows the prospect of searching and recognising what contributes to better health. A distinction between general and specified vulnerability and resilience is needed for advancing knowledge on how to improve human adaptation. An integrated perspective on the links between these concepts is also needed for developing tools for assessing human vulnerability, resilience and adaptation, in order to mitigate the impacts of climate change on human health, which this paper contributes to.