The IPCC AR4 notes that, in terms of the distribution of impacts and vulnerabilities to climate change, there are sharp differences across regions, and those in the weakest economic position are often the most vulnerable to climate change and the risks it presents. In this respect, the Asia-Pacific region is particularly vulnerable.

Key vulnerabilities to climate change may be associated with many climate-sensitive systems, including food and water resources, coastal systems, ecosystems, biogeochemical cycles, and modes of oceanic and atmospheric circulation.

The IPCC and the UNFCCC recognise that science can support informed decisions. However, under this premise, many countries lack the scientific capacity to be able to conduct crucial impact and vulnerability assessments in order to make informed decisions on how best to reduce the risks associated with climate change.

Considering the urgent needs of developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, the APN launched a Special Calls for Proposals for Scientific Capacity Building for Climate Impact and Vulnerability Assessments (SCBCIA) under the CAPaBLE programme  in September 2009.