Targeting attention on local vulnerabilities using an integrated index approach: the example of the climate vulnerability index
Sullivan, CA & Meigh, JR 2005, 'Targeting attention on local vulnerabilities using an integrated index approach: the example of the climate vulnerability index', Water Science & Technology, vol. 51, no. 5, pp. 69-78.
It is known that climate impacts can have significant effects on the environment, societies and economies. For human populations, climate change impacts can be devastating, giving rise to economic disruption and mass migration as agricultural systems fail, either through drought or floods. Such events impact significantly, not only where they happen, but also in the neighbouring areas. Vulnerability to the impacts of climate change needs to be assessed, so that adaptation strategies can be developed and populations can be protected. In this paper, we address the issue of vulnerability assessment through the use of an indicator approach, the climate vulnerability index (CVI). We show how this can overcome some of the difficulties of incommensurability associated with the combination of different types of data, and how the approach can be applied at a variety of scales. Through the development of nested index values, more reliable and robust coverage of large areas can be achieved, and we provide an indication of how this could be done. While further work is required to improve the methodology through wider application and component refinement, it seems likely that this approach will have useful application in the assessment of climate vulnerability. Through its application at sub-national and community scales, the CVI can help to identify those human populations most at risk from climate change impacts, and as a result, resources can be targeted towards those most in need. Keywords Climate change; indices; vulnerability; water resources.