Vulnerability to Climate Hazards Index helps build resilient communities
The Dominican Republic was ranked as the eleventh most vulnerable country to climate change in 2017 and as one of the ten most affected nations by climate events between 1997 and 2016, according to the Global Climate Index. Synergies between poverty reduction and climate change adaptation are particularly relevant in this context where about 30 per cent of the population live below the national poverty - with increased vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather.
UNDP helped develop a Vulnerability to Climate Hazards Index – the first of its kind worldwide – which measures households' exposure to hurricanes, storms and other climate phenomena. The index considers households' income, housing characteristics and proximity to sources of danger, and integrates data from the country's poverty census which is carried out every four years. With the latest survey in 2018, the index was updated for 2.1 million households nationwide - allowing decision makers to target and prioritise public policies and social programmes towards the most vulnerable - strengthening resilience and preventing that people fall back into poverty.
An interinstitutional committee is currently exploring how new variables, such as droughts and seismic events, can be added to the index and updating the methodology for identifying vulnerable homes, ensuring that the tool helps improve disaster risk management and social protection related to environmental vulnerability.