A theory for understanding climate induced risks and resilience

2017 edition


The model of climate risk, understood as a crossed result of hazard and vulnerability was theoretically proposed at the beginning of the 70’s, highly diffused during the 90´s and in particular after the launch of the Hyogo protocol from 2005 to 2015 in what was called the “international decade for natural disasters reduction.

Nowadays this model is still widely used to support multiple public decisions for land use ordering and development with undeniable positive results but certainly high conflict and subjectivity at the moment of application.

Risk as a conjunction of two main variables (hazard and vulnerability), is presented as restricted to a snapshot of risk. A picture that represents a moment in the risk but an historical perspective is required, capable of give an explanation of the social and temporal construction of the risk. Then is proposed risk to be understood, not as that function of hazard vs. vulnerability, but as an accumulative condition during the time in detriment of the social environmental capital over a given territorial domain.

That socioenvironmental capital, affected in the constitution or recovery of the risk, is shown as function of the expression of creative potentials of nature and human beings in their heterogeneity or into an homogenizing or hegemonic, restricted, repressive context.

Risk spaces are gradually constructed upon the time by rupture and dismissal of the difference. That risk-accumulated background just gets manifested, in form of emergencies or disasters, when certain thresholds are trespassed. The territory became into certain unacceptable level of risk, a critical phase where occurrence of undesirable events is feasible. Only in each moment a snapshot of risk in terms of hazard and vulnerability is valid.

This theoretical perspective open or guides adequately powerful approaches to an appropriate management of risk, by promotion of integral governance networks at local level based on germination and caring of qualified social environmental capital in what can then be called as social resilience.


This work attempts at the end to provide new conceptual definitions of risk, vulnerability, hazard, governance, resilience and adaptation in a single key whose appropriate agency is tried to be support and proposed to center the measures to management of climate induced risk at the end, and that is difference.