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uast_logo_2 Preparing the ground for adaptation Assessing risks and vulnerabilities to climate change Identifying adaptation options Assessing adaptation options Implementation Monitoring and evaluation


Assessing climate change risks and vulnerabilities

2.3 Identifying vulnerable urban sectors

The present and projected impacts of climate change (see Step 2.1 and Step 2.2) affect the city as a whole, but some urban sectors are likely to be more affected due to their higher vulnerability or lower capacity to adapt. The ability of a given sector to adapt to and cope with climate change impacts is a function of wealth, technology, information, skills, infrastructure, institutions, equity, empowerment, and the ability to spread risk. Identifying vulnerable sectors is important to prioritise and focus the adaptation efforts.

Climate change impacts a city as a whole but some urban sectors are more vulnerable to certain climate hazards than others. For example, pluvial flooding might not directly affect public health, but can affect the transport network, causing spill-over effects for industry.  Heatwaves are one of the biggest climatic threats to health, but can also pose challenges to water and power supplies due to increased water and energy consumption.

The list of potentially vulnerable urban sectors and fields of activity to be checked in the assessment should therefore at least cover:

  • Industry
  • Disaster risk management
  • Public health
  • Social well-being
  • Urban planning, including green and blue infrastructure 
  • Buildings
  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Water
  • Environmental protection/biodiversity
  • Education
  • Service sector, including tourism
  • Financial sector and insurance
  • Information and communication technologies

Scroll to the bottom of the page for information and resources on these sectors.

For some of the sectors, a municipality might have direct competencies and involvement, in others less so. Therefore, it is advisable to engage a wider range of sectoral stakeholders (see Step 1.6)  in the assessments of sectoral vulnerabilities. It is also important to look at cross-sectoral impacts and spill-over effects among the sectors; tools such as IVAVIA may be useful to assess impact chains. 

The impacts per sector should be assessed along the criteria in the table below.





Impacts on health, workforce, communities and lifestyles

Service Delivery

Changing demand for or disruption to services delivered by the sector

Infrastructure & Premises

Impacts on buildings, roads, transport infrastructure, parks, housing maintenance and facilities management

Procurement & Suppliers

Impacts on key sub-contractors, suppliers and implications for how procurement is managed under future climate


Implications for investment and insurance