SARVA is an initiative of the Department of Science and Innovation and forms a 10-year Global Change Grand Challenge. It is currently in its third phase of implementation with this phase focusing on data access and value-added products for decision-making.
Guide to SARVA

Read more about the key aspects of the data included in SARVA portal. ​


Search and find definitions for terms used in SARVA.

Risk Framework

Read more about how risk and vulnerability is defined and calculated in SARVA

The Team

View the team at SAEON developing the 3rd version of SARVA.

Our Partners

View our partners and collaborators on SARVA.


The South African Risk and Vulnerability Atlas is an open science platform of curated and maintained spatial and non-spatial data relating to global change. Value-added products such as data visualisations through maps and charts assist in the presentation of the data and the trends.
The data available in SARVA describes, assesses and evaluates the risks and vulnerabilities facing the country. Examples of data sets include land-use change, urbanisation, climate change, biodiversity loss, social and physical infrastructure, education, child health and poverty indicators.

SARVA is a 'living atlas’ that will be updated quarterly as new data is published to SAEON's Open Data Repository.

SARVA intends to reduce the risks associated with Global Change by providing a wide array of data to help decision making at various scales.

Global change risks

The world is facing a number of complex global challenges or ‘wicked problems’. These global change drivers are defined as a long-term pattern or trend that could amplify existing or create new risks and vulnerabilities and/or alter the relationship between them. These include changes in the climate system as well as changes in any biophysical and human system such as urbanisation, deforestation, biodiversity loss and more recently the rise of pandemics. 

Global change drivers do not operate in isolation but rather interact with an array of natural processes and human-driven effects in complex and multidimensional ways; at local and regional and global scales. These interactions may involve multiple pathways, feedback loops and non-linear responses that may make prediction of outcomes at any particular scale difficult. They involve multiple stakeholders, multiple causes, symptoms and solutions (sometimes opposing), and are constantly evolving.  

Reliable and accessible data is key to managing risk​

Creating an enabling environment for communities, governments, and sectors to respond to global change risks is critical to ensure future resilience. 

There is a need to: 

  • Provide access to scientific data and observations of long-term environmental, societal and economic trends
  • Translate the data into useable, actionable and impactful information on the impacts, vulnerability, and feasible response actions
  • Ensure that data and associated information and decision-support tools are based on user-identified needs at appropriate time-scales