The Roots of Vulnerability


Climate change vulnerability is a slippery concept often oversimplified as being exposed to extreme climate events. While unchangeable facts of geography do play a role in a country’s vulnerability to climate change (particularly for small island states, and coastal regions), there are additional factors – human rather than natural – that put people at risk.

As one of the poorest countries in Latin America, Bolivia has neither the funds nor capacity to adequately respond to the increasing ‘climate related’ demands of its population. Limited resources makes dealing with the consequences of catastrophic climate events, like flooding, difficult. Bolivia’s ability to develop climate adaptation projects is also limited. This at a time when having these resources is becoming more crucial than ever. Based on statistics from the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), Bolivia suffered its ten worst natural disasters over the preceding three decades and has experienced a steady rise in disasters that would be classified as catastrophic.


For a deeper discussion of the various roots of climate change vulnerablity read the extended analysis In the Crosshairs: climate change vulnerability in Bolivia.