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Wednesday, 27 November 2013 00:00

South Africa vulnerability assessment

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SA_map.jpgThe South African government wishes to form a national vulnerability assessment committee, which will be a part of the SADC-led Regional Vulnerability Assessment Committee (RVAC), and which will inform government about the present situation and future scenarios of vulnerability to hunger, poverty and deprivation in the country.

Following the droughts and food crisis years from 2001 to 2005, under the leadership of the Southern African Development Community — SADC — the region has gradually built up a vulnerability assessment system. This system consists of multi-agency multi-sectoral National Vulnerability Assessment Committees — NVACs — working with a Regional Vulnerability Assessment Committee — RVAC — chaired by the SADC Secretariat, to describe and forecast vulnerability to hunger and deprivation for the region's poorest and most marginalised people. South Africa wishes to be a part of this system and to have roling year-to-year assessments that will guide and inform policies and programming for government and all stakeholders concerned with the well being of the country's people.

A good vulnerability assessment system does three things:

  • It is predictive--it must forecast a siuation so that contingencies can be planned ahead of time, which not only saves lives and livelihoods, it saves money and effort to mitigate
  • It is sufficiently localised--it cannot be an aggregate that masks out localised pockets of deprivation, it must have the necessary resolution and scale
  • It must be accurate--trust is built on a system that correctly identifies the issues and the means to tackle them

The livelihoods-based household economy approach is one way to achieve these three things. However, setting up such a system will be a significant undertaking. The sheer size and scope of issues in South Africa dictate that a simple NVAC such as exists in other countries will not suffice; most likely there will need to be Provincial Vulnerbaility Assessment Committees — PVACs — that meet regularly and that allocate the necessary staff to do the actual field visits and analyses. This in turn implies a structure to provide the necessary training and technical backstopping, which could be a university or training instituion.

So, getting a South African Vulnerability Assessment Committee off the gorund will be a huge undertaking: requiring strong leadership, sufficient resources and committed practitioners. If it works, its products will be invaluable for Disaster Risk Managment, Social Development and  policy planning, particularly the new Food Security Policy and the National Development Plan.

Wahenga helped the South African Government develop a Strategic Plan that would launch the SAVAC. This work took five weeks and consultations were made with numerous stakeholders, from government departments to NGOs, academics and the private sector. It is hoped that if the SAVAC and its PVACs are launched, that they will prove an essential tool for shaping government policy and improving the lives of millions of South Africans.

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Competencies   Resources

competencies13

  • Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis;
  • Information Management;
  • Mapping and Data Management;
  • Livelihoods Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building
  • Food and nutrition security
  • Social Protection
  • HIV/AIDS and Gender

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resources13

  • Climate Change
  • Household Economy Reports
  • Training Material
  • Presentations and Publications

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