Toward an innovative interdisciplinary method for vulnerability assessments: the case of Taiwan

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Humans live in complicated social-ecological systems within which we interact with our surrounding environment. This interaction is of concern to various disciplines, which focus on various system elements (factors), many of which are mutually interacting. Assessments of vulnerability to climate change assist us in realizing the magnitude of the impact of various climate change factors, allowing us to determine and adopt appropriate adaptation measures. Nevertheless, previous impact-driven vulnerability assessments are either disciplinary or multidisciplinary and cannot easily account for the interaction between different disciplines. This paper proposes an interdisciplinary vulnerability assessment method (IVAM) to develop a framework by which interdisciplinary vulnerabilities can be understood. In addition, IVAM processes can promote the emergence of an interdisciplinary system, which could be used to identify the scope of interdisciplinary influence of a particular policy, along with the critical elements (factors) and government stakeholders of such policies. This research seeks to further the policy goals of the national government of Taiwan vis-à-vis climate change, covering the joint cooperation of experts from fields including environmental disaster management, public health, food security, ecology, and water resource management. The specific advantage of IVAM, however, is that this universal model is not limited to any of these specific disciplines.

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