Earlier this month, the 2nd edition of the South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas was launched in Cape Town and Durban. First published in 2012, the SARVA has been updated to reflect enhanced knowledge of future climatic impacts in South Africa, placing greater emphasis on specific themes and including relevant case studies.
South Africa, due to its position below the Tropics, is very vulnerable to large-scale climate change. In addition, the country has historical socio-economic conditions that are not yet worked out, which is an important contribution to and consideration of vulnerability. Predictions are that the country will become both hotter and drier, while extreme events are likely to increase. Impacts will expose the already vulnerable economic sectors and weak governance systems.
The SARVA provides a spatial database system that aims to understand the complexity of planetary and human systems that interact on a macro (global) and micro (regional, and even individual) scale, with the overall aim of responding to risks and building resilience to climate change across business, government and civil society. The Atlas thus acts as a decision-support tool that bridges the gaps between the science-policy-practice interface. The targeted users include municipalities, research institutions, organised local groups (e.g. farmers), and Risk & Vulnerability centres, which collect and integrate local data.
The Atlas can be used for cross-cutting purposes, such as the identification of hot spot areas for interventions, assessing climate risks facing municipalities, or for local level government to identify vulnerable communities.
The hard copy SARVA is complemented by an online portal, managed by the South Africa Earth Observation Network (SAEON).
Click here to access the online tool: http://data.sarva.web.za
Stakeholders are invited to join SAEON in the Learning Event roadshow – an opportunity to engage with the online SARVA tool and learn how to use it, as well as give feedback as to what information is most pertinent to the various interest groups, such as municipalities. The roadshow also presents a unique opportunity for government and the private sector to interact in an environment dedicated to problem-solving around climate risk scenarios using geographic information.
See here for more information on the roadshow: http://bit.ly/SAEONroadshow
By Dania Petrik