Vulnerability of Human Populations to Climate Change: Focus on Socio-Economical Factors

Vulnerability of Human Populations to Climate Change: Focus on Socio-Economical Factors

Abdelkrim Ben Salem (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco), Souad Ben Salem (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco), Kholoud Kahime (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco), Mohammed Messouli (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco) and Mohammed Yacoubi Khebiza (Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7775-1.ch002


Moroccan ecosystems are considered endangered due to climate change that affects directly or indirectly different key features (biodiversity, snow cover, run-off processes, and water availability). The chapter describes the strategy for achieving collaboration between natural and social scientists, stakeholders, decision makers, and other societal groups in order to carry out an integrated assessment of climate change in the 12 Moroccan regions, with an emphasis on vulnerability and adaptation, and evaluate the vulnerability of human population to climate change applying the socioeconomic vulnerability index (SeVI) that measures socioeconomic vulnerability by regions. Result suggest that three southern and one north region are relatively more vulnerable, which are the most exposed to natural hazard. Furthermore, significant adaptive capacity scores are recorded in in the remaining regions, and average sensitivity for all. Therefore, societies and economies at all levels and on every region have to prepare for and adapt to impacts of climate change.
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Climate change is one of the key future challenges for human population, and the most serious announcements threatening the sustainability of development, with potential adverse effects on human health, food security, and socio-economic activity. The interface between exposure to the physical threats to human well-being and the capacity of people and communities to cope with those threats is vulnerability. Africa's vulnerability to climate change has been analyzed and projected in key sectors of the continent that protect human life, livelihoods and ecosystems. For example, the population at risk of increased water stress is projected to be 75 to 250 million by 2020 and 350 to 600 million by 2050. In some countries, yield reductions could reach 50% by 2020 (Arnell, 2004).

The vulnerability of water resources to climate change is dramatic (Immerzeel, et al., 2011). In terms of unmet demand, Morocco will see water shortages increase from 10 to 20 km3 in 2020 to 2030 and up to 40 km3 in 2040-2050. In addition, vulnerability in the water sector is characterized by climatic extremes, since drought sequences can alternate with flood sequences, as was the case, for example, in 1995 (Ourika), 1996 (El Jadida, Mohammedia, Beni Mellal, Casablanca, Kenitra), 2002 (Mohammedia), 2011 (Khenifra), 2010-2014 (Casablanca and Rabat) and. These floods are sometimes devastating, causing loss of life and significant economic damage (Messouli, 2014).

The annual cost of adaptation in the case of Morocco can range from 71 to 92 million USD for the specific needs of research, irrigation efficiency and rural roads (Rosegrant, 2009). Morocco gave a new impetus to the process of regionalization of the country. This project advanced in Morocco envisages the distribution of the country in 12 areas instead of 16, a reduction of 25%. This new regional configuration was made according to certain criteria based amongst other things on the principles of efficiency, homogeneity, proportionality and balance, but also of accessibility and proximity (CCR, 2011). If the questions are now more than answers, the position defended in this chapter is that the approach of the strengths and limitations of the territories by analyzing their vulnerability is particularly relevant, provided, however, to design the evaluation the level of vulnerability as a process rather than just a one-time operation. For this purpose, it is necessary to have elements of objective evaluation which will make it possible to better consider the vulnerability in the strategies and action plans for the adaptation. These elements of evaluation will be able to guide the decision makers and the government in its decisions. Vulnerability assessment methods have been developed in recent decades for natural disasters, food security, poverty analysis, livelihood sustainability and related areas. These approaches, each with its own nuances, provide a set of practices for use in climate change vulnerability and adaptation studies.

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