Development of an ISO standard for Climate Risk Assessments

Überschwemmte Stadt; Foto: getty images

Comprehensive and successful adaptation to the impacts of climate change is one of the central global challenges of our time. Risk assessments or vulnerability assessments at the national, regional and municipal levels, for key fields and sectors such as the environment, health, agriculture, as well as for the private sector, are of increasing importance in dealing with possible damage caused by climate change.

There are already numerous approaches to risk assessments that can be used to examine different types of climatic trends, threats and impacts caused by climate change in rural and urban structures. What is missing, however, is a uniform approach that allows different actors to proceed consistently on the basis of internationally agreed procedures. For this reason, adelphi supported the Federal Environment Agency in the development of a standardised approach to vulnerability assessment.

The aim of this project was to further develop the current standard working draft for vulnerability assessments in coordination with the DIN and ISO committees. To this end, adelphi worked with the International Working Group 11 (WG 11) "Vulnerability Assessment", which is responsible for standardisation work on adaptation. adelphi developed several standard working drafts over several meetings from 2018-2020 up to the final ISO draft.

The first adaptation of ISO/WD 14091 implied following changes: 

  1. an adaptation of the focus group (e.g. stronger focus on business).
  2. an adjustment of the methodological framework to AR5. (The concept of risk according to the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report plays a central role here.)
  3. a simplification of the approach.

In addition to drafting proposals for a standardised approach, adelphi also acted on the chair of the committee responsible for creating the standards at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the global association of national standardisation agencies.