ABSTRACT

The VAM programme targets four main themes: vulnerability, adaptation, mitigation, and adaptation-plus-mitigation. In the brochure that accompanied the call in 2004, the programme committee hinted at the political connections between these themes: ‘Until recently, social scientific climate research was dominated by the strategy of mitigation, in the wide sense, and in particular the analysis of reduction measures. Yet at COP8—the eighth session of the “Conference of the Parties” in the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” (UNFCCC) [in 2002]—the developing countries were strongly in favour of adaptation. The two subjects are most likely to be pitted against each other in future negotiations.’ This was indeed the case at the following COP sessions, including the one in Copenhagen in December 2009. The emphasis of the developing countries on adaptation is likely to be related to their perceived vulnerability: the extent to which health, economy, and nature and biodiversity will be affected as a result of a certain climatic change. The developing countries are generally considered to be more vulnerable than the industrialised nations.