KIBEX - Critical infrastructure and population/civil protection in the context of climate change related extreme events

Background and Goals

The aim of the KIBEX project is to assess the vulnerability of the population and critical infrastructure (KRITIS) to extreme weather events (torrential rain, heat waves, drought) as a result of the climate change. In addition to developing criteria and methods for vulnerability assessment, an appraisal of the possible consequences of cause-and-effect chains and interdependencies will also be carried out, the results of which will serve, among other purposes, as a basis for the development of adaptation measures.

The expected products will be vulnerability assessments for (sections of) the population and KRITIS (critical infrastructure) to extreme weather events, the systematization and data consolidation of the information base including the documentation of historical events, the strengthening of cooperation and establishment of an information exchange between stakeholders, and a guideline for vulnerability assessment based on the development and transfer of methods, indicators and criteria.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Germany
Region of implementation (all German federal states)
  • Baden-Württemberg
  • Brandenburg
  • Northrhine-Westphalia

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

For the project, the IPCC A1B scenario will be used. It serves as a basis for various regional climate models, whose projections are to be compared within the framework of the project in order to arrive at example areas for Germany. The dynamic climate model CCLM will be used, and the statistical models STAR and WETTREG. The climate projections of different models concern the periods between 1951-2060 (STAR), 1961-2100 (WETTREG) and 1960-2100 (CCLM).

Parameter (climate signals)
  • Heat waves
  • Low water
  • Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)
  • Dry periods
Further Parameters 

extreme weather events

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

The project will investigate the effects of extreme weather events caused by the climate change, namely heat waves, drought, low water levels and torrential rain, both directly, in their impact on critical infrastructure (particularly electricity generation/supply and water supply) and population, as well as indirectly, through dependencies and cause-and-effect relationships.

Step 2b: Identify and assess risks - Vulnerability, risks and chances

Approach and results 

The working definition of vulnerability used in the KIBEX project is made up of the physical, social, economic, and ecological factors and processes that determine the vulnerability of population groups, systems, or elements, their exposure to the impact of hazards, their capacity to manage the effects of such events, and their capacity to adapt to them (own definition after UN/ISDR 2004).

The working definition of resilience used in the KIBEX project comprises the ability of a system or society exposed to shocks and disturbances to maintain their basic functions. This is dependent on the degree to which the social system is able to organize itself and learn from previous disasters, in order to develop better prevention measures (own definition after UN/ISDR 2004 and Adger et al. 2005).  

The KIBEX project is intended to analyse vulnerabilities, of which the adaptive capacity and management ability of different parts of the population or critical infrastructures are an aspect that will also be investigated. The term "adaptation" refers to measures for natural and human systems that are intended to help survive the effects of the climate change with as little harm as possible (BMU 2009).

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

Within the framework of the project, adaptation measures can be  jointly developed in cooperation with the participating towns, and also with civil protection organizations and infrastructure operators. However, the priority should be to identify vulnerabilities to be used as a basis for this (with particular reference to the components of exposure, susceptibility and adaptive capacity).

The objectives of the project are to provide applicable results for improving civil protection and emergency management through vulnerability assessments of the population and critical infrastructure, to create a solid information base, and to develop courses of action in cooperation with all the participating stakeholders. To this end, the identification of cause-and-effect relationships and dependencies should help to improve preventive planning.

Time horizon
  • 2011–2040 (near future)
  • 2021–2050 (near future)
  • 2036–2065
  • 2051–2080 (far future)
  • 2071–2100 (far future)

Step 4: Plan and implement measures

Measures and/or strategies 

Possible courses of action should be developed primarily through a constant dialogue between science and practice, as well as between the practice partners and the stakeholders.


Funding / Financing 

The project receives funding from the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK)

Project management 

United Nations University, Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS): Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management and Adaptive Planning Section


Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK);
German Aerospace Centre (DLR)


United Nations University
Institute for Environment and Human Security
Hermann-Ehlers-Straße 10
D-53113 Bonn

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Fields of action:
 energy sector  human health  water regime, water management