Copyright © 2015 NCCARF's Vulnerable Communities Network/The University of Adelaide, All rights reserved.

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Newsletter #2
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Welcome to the Christmas edition of the Vulnerable Communities Network (VCN) newsletter (hence, the gaudy red type!).

As we ready ourselves for the Christmas break, a panoply of the world's Environment, Energy and Foreign Ministers are in their final week of negotiations to craft an international agreement that endeavors to keep global mean temperatures under 2 degrees. 

Although much political wrangling remains, a new 48 page draft agreement looks like it may form the basis of a deal which needs to be reached by this Saturday (12 December). I, like most of you, will spend this week anticipating that compromises can be made and the spirit of international cooperation will deliver the international compact that is urgently needed for our world, environment, communities, families and future generations.

2015 has been a busy year for VCN. We have grown a small membership base - 0, to be exact - to 96 members (we are aiming for 150 members by mid 2016!). We have taken some time to work up what we are about, what we actually mean when we use the term 'vulnerability' (that is: social vulnerability), and how our activities can bring about closer interrelationships between research, policy and practice communities.

Our workshops with the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and at the Population Health Conference in Hobart exhorted the critical importance of research in providing an evidence base for policy development and implementation. It is incontrovertible that climate change, without decisive and informed policies, will further magnify the socioeconomic divide in our society. Research, and in particular, the social sciences, has a growing responsibility to conduct research that is attentive to these issues and, importantly, has translational import. Australian researchers are becoming increasingly aware of the social impacts of climate change, and are advancing knowledge of how climate change will disproportionately affect those most vulnerable in our society and how this can be mitigated. VCN is committed to bringing this important research to decision-makers and other audiences, informing and guiding the evolution of good policy and planning.

 The new year is shaping up as a very exciting and busy year for VCN.  We are conducting 6 'roadshow' themed workshops in Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide. You will be hearing more about these in late January. NCCARF's Adapt16 Conference in Adelaide (5-7 July, 2016) will feature a Vulnerable Communities Symposium - we are offering 13 travel scholarships to members to attend the conference and present their work. Proceeding Adapt16, VCN is hosting a 'Masterclass' with Professor Kris Ebi from the University of Washington. Prof. Ebi is a world renowned expert on climate vulnerability and adaptation. For Early Career Researchers and practitioners, we are offering up to 20 travel scholarships for successful applicants. We will be putting a call out for applications for the Masterclass in early February.

Finally, Peng and I would like to thank you for your continuing support this year. Have a safe and restive break, and we hope to see or hear from you in the new year.

Best regards

Scott and Peng.


The Vulnerable Communities Network’s (VCN) Adapt16 Scholarship Programme represents an exiting opportunity to present your research, policy or project work at one of the leading international conferences on climate change adaptation. The VCN scholarships provide valuable opportunities to share knowledge on how climate change will affect already vulnerable populations, and how resilience can be enhanced. 
Participation is open to early career researchers (5 years and under since being awarded a PhD), practitioners in the industry or government sector, and Masters or PhD candidates, with an interest in climate change adaptation and resilience research specifically related to vulnerable communities or populations.
Thirteen travel scholarships will be awarded. Successful applicants who do not live within 2 hours driving distance of Adelaide will be eligible for reasonable travel expenses to attend the event, including flights, accommodation and meals. All successful applicants will receive full registration to the conference.
Submission Guidelines:

  1. If you are not already a member of VCN, please join by going to
  2. Submit an oral or ‘speedtalk’ presentation abstract on the Adapt2016 conference website and note in your abstract that you are wishing to present at the Vulnerable Communities Network (VCN) session.
  3. Email a copy your conference abstract and academic CV to by COB on Friday 22nd May 2016. Within your email please nominate two referees to support your submission & include their brief written references. Also, please indicate your address.
Your abstract/proposed presentation should clearly identify your research area of interest. 

Olivia Kimber of The Climate Institute presents at the Melbourne workshop, 3 September 2015.
In August this year, The Australian Council of social Service (ACOSS) and VCN conducted two workshops in Melbourne and Perth with Community Service Organisation (CSO) staff, advocacy groups, and decision-makers, on the theme of climate change and its impact on vulnerable communities. The workshops generated much debate and a set of important recommendations, including the critical need for CSOs to be adequately funded and included in emergency planning. The workshops underscored the difficulty CSOs are experiencing in meeting current levels of demand; the prospect of climate change shocks and stresses will most likely overwhelm many front-line services to vulnerable communities unless further funding is made available. The full report can be found here on the VCN webpage:   
VCN is looking for new members, can you help?

The idea that climate change will affect communities in different ways - determined by their socioeconomic and health status - is a relatively new research and policy field in Australia. This field is multifaceted, and is composed of a diverse set of stakeholders, touching on myriad social service areas such as aged care, housing, women's and children services, refugees support..the list could go on. As such, VCN is forging increased recognition of these interconnections and needs your help to spread the word. If you have not joined yet, or know of any service provider, researcher or decision-maker who might like to join the Network, please lead them to our website:
....Or, Join VCN by clicking here..
VCN research and policy news from Australia, and around the world
Structural and socioeconomic disparities make women more vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters. Indeed, as any crude demographic count of the gender-balance of ministers and negotiators at the Paris Convention of the Parties (COP) 21 will stress, women also lack representation when it comes to the decision-making on climate change. Women and Climate Change: Impact and Agency in Human Rights, Security, and Economic Development (Alam, Bhatia & Mawby, 2015) examines the gendered dimensions of climate change impacts; that is, how women are strained differently by rising sea levels and flooding, ocean acidification, water scarcity and climate-related displacement.The report also highlights the critical need for women to be afforded greater power and agency in decision-making mechanisms at all levels.
Read the report here:

As part of the mid-term review of the NCCARF project (, we are seeking your feedback on the Vulnerable Communities Network (VCN) so that we can better understand how useful you have found it to date and also what could make it even more useful as we go forward.  
The following link takes you to a short web survey to allow us to capture this feedback.
It should take a maximum of 10 minutes.  The survey is anonymous and information will be collated for reporting by Coutts J&R who are undertaking the monitoring and evaluation for the program.
We would very much value your feedback and invite you to respond by Friday, 24 December 2015.
Copyright © 2015 NCCARF's Vulnerable Communities Network/The University of Adelaide, All rights reserved.

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