This report summarizes MENAdrought’s findings on the underlying causes of vulnerability to drought impacts in Jordan.
It serves as a link between impact assessment and the policy planning process.
The objective of the vulnerability studies has been to identify who and what is threatened by drought, what causes this risk and the effects of how actors manage this risk. This can inform drought management planning so that interventions target the underlying causes of vulnerability of identified communities and sectors.
The context of the problem Drought exacerbates the problems of extreme water scarcity in Jordan. Paleoclimatic studies, pre-instrumental records, and modern observations and modeling reveal that the 1998-2012 dry spell in the Levant was more severe than any other in the past 500 years (Cook et al., 2016). Anticipated future climate changes will result in higher frequency of droughts leading to significant disruptions to hydrological regimes (Kelley et al., 2015) and the water supply sector, with concomitant effects on the agricultural sector and livelihoods and the communities that depend on them. .
Vulnerability to the effects of drought is a socio-environmental phenomenon. Drought risk management practitioners typically explore this dynamic interaction through a conceptual assessment of vulnerability that can vary depending on the timescale being assessed:
Short term: Vulnerability = potential impact – adaptive capacity
Long term: Vulnerability = potential impact – adaptive capacity
In this formulation, the potential impact has two components: exposure and sensitivity. Exposure refers to the presence of people, assets, ecosystems, etc., in areas affected by drought. Sensitivity refers to climatological thresholds that trigger adverse effects. Adaptive capacity is the ability of communities, people or systems to withstand drought without irreversible changes in state and functions, while adaptive capacity is the ability of systems, people and communities to change in form and function under new conditions.
We used participatory research methods as well as quantitative and geospatial analyzes through multiple vulnerability assessment approaches according to the typology developed as part of a recent study (King-Okumu, 2019).
Participatory research included the needs assessment conducted at the start of the program and, more recently, targeted engagements targeting rainfed and irrigated farming systems, primarily in Azraq. The first study had a broad scope; the latter focused on the impact of drought on the food security and livelihoods of livestock owners and farmers (income, debt and access to finance) as well as the gender-differentiated impacts of drought on farmers and livestock owners. Quantitative and geospatial analyzes are mainly related to drought impact assessments. They included an analysis of public expenditure, agricultural production, and water flows and withdrawals.