The ND-GAIN Index, a project of the University of Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN), aims to help businesses and the public sector better prioritize investments for a more efficient response to the immediate global challenges ahead.
The ND-Gain Index summarizes two key characteristics of a country:
- its vulnerability to climate change and other global challenges, and
- its readiness to improve resilience.
Both characteristics are compound indices, based on numerous indicators, scored on a scale of 0 to 1. For vulnerability, lower scores are better; for readiness, higher scores are better.
Vulnerability measures a country’s exposure, sensitivity and ability to adapt to the negative impact of climate change. ND-GAIN measures the overall vulnerability by considering vulnerability in six life-supporting sectors – food, water, health, ecosystem service, human habitat and infrastructure.
Three vulnerability components are considered (each has several indicators):
- Exposure: The degree to which a system is exposed to significant climate change from a biophysical perspective. It is a component of vulnerability independent of socio-economic context. Exposure indicators are projected impacts for the coming decades.
- Sensitivity: The extent to which a country is dependent upon a sector negatively affected by climate hazard, or the proportion of the population particularly susceptible to a climate change hazard. A country’s sensitivity can vary over time.
- Adaptive Capacity: The availability of social resources for sector-specific adaptation. In some cases, these capacities reflect sustainable adaptation solutions. In other cases, they reflect capacities to put newer, more sustainable adaptations into place. Adaptive capacity also varies over time.
Readiness targets those portions of the economy, governance and society that affect the speed and efficiency of absorption and implementation of Adaptation projects.
Three Readiness components are taken into account:
- Economic Readiness: Economic readiness captures the ability of a country’s business environment to accept investment that could be applied to adaptation that reduces vulnerability (reduces sensitivity and improves adaptive capacity).
- Governance Readiness: Governance readiness captures the institutional factors that enhance application of investment for adaptation.
- Social Readiness: Social readiness captures the factors such as social inequality, ICT infrastructure, education and innovation, that enhance the mobility of investment and promote adaptation actions.
In the case of Mexico (see image), from 1995 to 2013, vulnerability has steadily improved, from a high of 0.362 in 1996 to 0.315 in 2013. Mexico’s vulnerability has decreased for each of the six sectors except infrastructure.
Over the same period of time, readiness in Mexico has also improved, from a low of 0.387 in 1995 to a high of 0.464 in 2013.
The trends of lower vulnerability scores and higher readiness score for Mexico mean that while adaptation challenges still exist, Mexico is well positioned to adapt to future challenges. On the overall ND-Gain Index, Mexico is the 47th least vulnerable country and the 91st most ready country, for an overall rank of #74, of the 190+ countries in the rankings.