Livelihood Vulnerability Index: Measuring Climate Change vulnerability of rural communities in Northern Laos.

Author: Souliyaphon Kommadam

Kommadam, Souliyaphon, 2023 Livelihood Vulnerability Index: Measuring Climate Change vulnerability of rural communities in Northern Laos., Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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Oudomxay Province, with its unique mountainous scenery, is at significant risk of being impacted by natural disasters caused by climate change every year. Beng district is one of seven districts in Oudomxay province that has been affected by natural disasters like drought and flash floods. Furthermore, because the villagers’ main occupation is strongly reliant on the natural environment as a key source of living, villagers in the district are exposed to the influence of climate change. Therefore, the primary object of this study was to measure the level of livelihood vulnerability in 15 villages in Beng district, using the vulnerability assessment methodology developed by Hahn, Riederer, and Foster (2009).

The study used seven primary indicators and twenty sub-indicators by primarily using Microsoft Excel to compute the vulnerability assessment in terms of livelihood vulnerability. Furthermore, the SPSS program was used for a crosstab analysis to determine the difference in vulnerability across genders in relation to different aspects. The data for this study came from a household survey conducted by the Mekong Sentinel Landscape team in 2016. All data required for the study and calculation of livelihood vulnerability were retrieved directly from the household survey in 15 villages, with a total of 450 household samples.

The study found that Mang village had the highest overall vulnerability index (0.476) rating in relation to seven primary variables and twenty-two sub-indicators. Similarly, the findings from using the IPCC contributing factors, namely Adaptive Capacity, Sensitivity, and Exposure, to calculate the Livelihood Vulnerability Index, also indicated that Mang village exhibited the highest level of vulnerability, with a value of 0.033. However, the degree of livelihood vulnerability of each village varied in seven main indicators. As well, the result of crosstab analysis indicated that households led by females tend to be more vulnerable than male-headed households due to difficulties faced in several aspects. Therefore, the result of this study provides crucial information that can inform policy making for assisting in targeting the vulnerable communities in order to effectively manage natural disasters and in climate change mitigation and adaption.

Keywords: Livelihood Vulnerability, Climate Change, Northern Laos

Subject: Environmental management thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2023
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Prof. Udoy Saikia