Assessing regional vulnerability to climate change

Using local knowledge to identify potential threats and response options can help communities prepare for climate change.
The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has developed a process that aims to provide a sound basis for enabling  regional adaptation and planning by working with community members, agencies and other local stakeholders to identify and understand regional climate vulnerabilities.
The process involves:

  • collecting background climate change, socioeconomic and sector information
  • several sector-focused workshops to assess the specific effects of climate change on regional systems, and the capacity to adapt
  • an integration workshop, with participants from all sectors, to identify areas of regional climate change vulnerability and adaptation responses.
  • models of key regional systems, that shape government service delivery, detailing transition pathways to improve resilience 
  • developing potential ‘first-steps’ projects, to activate the transition pathways and move towards a transformed system 

The workshop discussions are structured to consider the human, social, natural, physical and financial characteristics that will affect the region’s ability to cope (known as its ‘adaptive capacity’).

The Guide to Integrated Regional Vulnerability Assessment (IRVA) for Climate Change (PDF 618KB) sets out the steps involved identifying  the climate change vulnerabilities and how the insights are analysed, including the theoretical principles that support the process.

Find out more about regional climate vulnerabilities and opportunities to respond below:


Completed assessment of regional vulnerabilities, and development of adaptation transition pathways  across NSW. The project has engaged more than 1200 state and local government participants.