Our Work

ND-GAIN’s mission is to enhance the world’s understanding of the importance of adaptation and facilitate public and private investments in vulnerable communities.

ND-GAIN prepares the world’s leading Index showing which countries are best prepared to deal with global changes brought about by overcrowding, resource-constraints and climate disruption. The Index is unique in its focus on not only country vulnerability, but also country readiness to accept adaptation investment.

The Index defines vulnerability as exposure and sensitivity to climate, population, infrastructure and resource stress, as well as the country’s adaptive capacity to those stresses. The Index defines readiness by social, governance and economic factors. 

ND-GAIN focuses on sectors crucial to human well-being that can be greatly improved by public and private sector innovation and investment. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology.

The Global Adaptation Institute moved to Notre Dame from Washington, D.C., in April, 2013, becoming ND-GAIN. Click here to read more about it.


Disproportionate Risk

The world through the lens of climate change vulnerability and readiness. Here, the 175 countries included in the ND-GAIN Index are redrawn as circles. The size of a circle is proportional to that country’s vulnerability score, while the color encodes its readiness to accept adaptation investment. Many countries in Africa and Asia exhibit the dangerous combination of high vulnerabilty and low readiness.

 


Readiness Upgrades

Examining a six year trend, a number of vulnerable countries have made great strides in readiness. Their positions on the ND-GAIN Matrix in 2013, compared to 2008, demonstrate the improvements possible with smart investment.


Sectors

ND-GAIN focuses on sectors crucial to human well-being that can be greatly improved by private sector innovation and action.

 

Life-supporting vulnerability variables in the Index include:

 

 

The Index defines readiness as a Country’s readiness to leverage investments to enhance adaptive capacity and includes variables for:

 

Water

Reliable water is the basis for economies and civilizations. Industry, agriculture, human health and livelihoods can be immediately impacted by water vulnerability that will grow as precipitation intensity, phase and geography shifts. Technologies that make water use more efficient will be in high demand and resilient water systems will save lives and ensure business continuity.

ND-GAIN measures water vulnerability with indicators such as precipitation change, freshwater withdrawal and access to improved water supply. See Syria's country profile for an example of the water data included in the ND-GAIN Index. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology

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Food & Agriculture

Billions around the world depend on agriculture for their livelihood and subsistence, and agriculture is a key element of many corporate supply chains.  Innovations in the agricultural sector will help reduce the vulnerability of food insecurity due to changed precipitation and temperature patterns. 

ND-GAIN measures food and agriculture vulnerability with indicators such as  crop yield change, food import dependency and agriculture capacity including irrigation and fertilizer. See Rwanda's country profile for an example of the food data included in the ND-GAIN Index. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology

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Health

Global shifts are impacting human health through food and water insecurity, extreme weather events, and shifting ecosystems for vector born disease. Innovative corporations will seize the opportunity to make susceptible populations more resilient to these vulnerabilities.

ND-GAIN measures health vulnerability with indicators such as climate-change-induced disability adjusted life years, external health resource dependency and health workers per capita. See China's country profile for an example of the health data included in the ND-GAIN Index. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology

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Ecosystems

Ecosystems provides natural capital upon which human society builds its economy and social system.  Ecosystems include natural resources that are at the foundation of all almost all product value chains.  Shifting geoclimes due to changed temperature and precipitation cause stress within ecosystems unable to respond as quickly as these shifts require. 

ND-GAIN measures ecosystem vulnerability with indicators such as projected biome threat, dependency on natural capital and  involvement in international environmental conventions. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology

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Human Habitat

Cities have been growing rapidly and the power of cities continues to provide catalyst for countries’ development. However, when the impact of climate change is unfolding, cities are more frequently confronted with floods, heat waves and other extreme weather events. Less resilient cities and their residents have to face more pressures than those well prepared. Improving infrastructure provides cities capacity to deal with extreme events and their negative impacts.

ND-GAIN measures human habitat vulnerability with indicators such as urban risks from climate-related natural disasters, excess urban growth, and quality of trade and transport infrastructure. See India's country profile for an example of the human habitat data included in the ND-GAIN Index. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology

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Infrastructure: Coastal Protection

Rising sea levels and more intense coastal storms create challenges to any nation with a coastline and those communities living near the sea. Land loss will not only lead to a decline in the value of coastal property, but also threaten global ports crucial to corporate value chains and impact livelihoods dependent on fishing and tourism in these areas.

ND-GAIN measures coastal vulnerability with indicators such as land area and population living less than 10 m above sea level. See Brazil's country profile for an example of the coastal protection data included in the ND-GAIN Index. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology

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Infrastructure: Transportaton

Transportation systems are susceptible to extreme events such as fires, hurricanes, typhoons and floods, while extreme heat increases stress on transportation infrastructure.  Corporate value chains depend on reliable transportation for movement of goods and employee livelihoods.

ND-GAIN measures transportation vulnerability with indicators such as flood risks and paved roads. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology

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Energy

Increases in extreme events such as fires, hurricanes, typhoons and floods can disrupt energy transport and transmission routes, as well as physically damage energy facilities. Droughts can impact hydropower availability and extreme heat stresses energy infrastructure systems. Increasing resiliency within the energy grid has collateral benefits for developing economies and corporations who benefit from increased reliability and resiliency in the energy grid.   

ND-GAIN measures energy vulnerability with indicators such as dependency on hydropower that is sensitive to climatological factors and population with access to reliable electricity. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology

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Economic/Fiscal Readiness

Strong national economies create favorable investment conditions.  More corporate resources can flow to vulnerable sectors when governments are open to doing fair business. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology.    

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Governance Readiness

Governments can encourage investments through maintaining political stability and safety.  Especially for international corporations, lack of governmental corruption is crucial for the ease of doing business. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology

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Social Readiness

Societies that have solid education systems up to and through the tertiary level, a fair rule of law and adequate information and communication technologies are more attractive to corporate investment. Learn more by viewing our Index Methodology

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Resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties (Oxford Dictionary)