STEP 2: Exposure Assessment

Exposure is defined as “the situation of people, infrastructure, housing, production capacities and other tangible human assets located in hazard-prone areas (United Nations General Assembly, 2016)”.

On the basis of the selected priority weather-related risks for the agricultural sector, the exposure assessment will be conducted in spatial (geographic areas) and temporal terms (frequency, magnitude and duration of disasters)[6] at national, regional and local levels:

  • Physical dimensions − include persons, buildings and (public) infrastructure, crops/fields/livestock, goods and productive assets such as equipment, shops/workshops/storerooms.

  • Economic dimensions − are considered capital stock/savings, the projected loss of income, productivity or growth
  • Environmental dimensions − consist of natural resources such as water, soil quality, forest, agricultural and pastoral land.

  • Social dimensions − are socially marginalization groups (including age and gender inequality), health, migration and displacement, education and skills, and social networks.

  • Institutional dimensions − for example, the government (e.g. ministries of agriculture, finance, transport, relief and emergency, and the respective service providers such as agricultural extension services), financial institutions and insurance providers, private sector institutions (e.g. trade and business organizations, input providers, production and sales), the media and civil society.


There are various approaches; some define exposure as a part of vulnerability (e.g. OECD, 2012; Turner, 2003; Birkmann, 2006a), while others consider it as a hybrid between vulnerability and hazard (e.g. MOVE approach by the EU), or as an own separate factor (IPCC, 2012). The publication uses the IPCC framework.

Tools and Guiding Questions

Guiding Questions

How to conduct a risk assessment (hazard, exposure, vulnerability)? Which are the factors that expose the agricultural sector sector in terms of physical dimensions, economic dimensions environmental dimensions, social dimensions, and institutional dimensions?

What kind of data is relevant for exposure assessment in order to set priorities?

Are data openly available and what is the cost of obtaining the data?

Where are these data available? Are they of high quality? (see criteria under ‘hazard assessment’)?


General data from (local) governments including statistical offices (e.g. census data, household surveys, investment and business listings, employment figures).

Specific data from e.g. Land Use/Land Cover geo-database regarding:

Buildings (e.g. field surveys, satellite images of building roofs).

Crop exposure including their location, types, and replacement costs (e.g. inventory of major cash crops, digital elevation/slope maps).

Land surface characteristics (including land suitability maps, agriculture and vegetation maps).

Global database

PREVIEW Global Risk Data Platform, developed by UNEP, UNISDR, GRID and others: Spatial data information on global risks from extreme weather events and natural hazards, including human and economical hazard exposure

Global Exposure Database (GED4GEM), developed for the Global Assessment Report on DRR: Homogenized database of the global building stock and population distribution


World Bank/ADB/SPCCPS (2013): PCRAFI − Better Risk Information for Smarter Investments − Catastrophe risk assessment methodology

World Bank − GFDRR (2014): Understanding risks in an evolving world − Emerging Best Practices in Natural Disaster Risk Assessment

Semi-structured interviews with government officials, agricultural business associations and entrepreneurs, producers, and civil society organizations (e.g. farmer associations), especially on social and institutional dimensions.