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Global vulnerability hotspots: differences and agreement between international indicator-based assessments

Feldmeyer, D, Birkmann, J, McMillan, JM, Stringer, L, Leal Filho, W, Djalante, R, Pinho, PF and Liwenga, E (2021) Global vulnerability hotspots: differences and agreement between international indicator-based assessments. Climatic Change: an interdisciplinary, international journal devoted to the description, causes and implications of climatic change, 169 (1-2). ISSN 0165-0009

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Abstract

Climate change impacts and their consequences are determined not only by the intensity and frequency of different climatic hazards but also by the vulnerability of the system, society or community exposed. While general agreement exists about the importance of assessing vulnerability to understand climate risks, there is still a tendency to neglect global and regional vulnerability patterns because they are hard to quantify, despite their value in informing adaptation, disaster risk and development policies. Several approaches to quantifying global vulnerability exist. These differ in terms of the indicators they use and how they classify countries or regions into vulnerability classes. The paper presents the structure of selected approaches and explores two indices in depth. The aim of this paper is to assess the level of agreement between selected international indicator-based assessments of vulnerability, at the level of climate regions. Results suggest that the two major global vulnerability assessments analysed largely agree on the location of the most and least vulnerable regions when these assessments are aggregated to a regional scale using the IPCC’s climate regions. The paper then discusses the robustness of the information derived and its usefulness for adaptation, disaster risk and development policies. Measuring progress towards reducing vulnerability to climate change and hazards is key for various agencies and actors in order to be able to develop informed policies and strategies for managing climate risks and to promote enabling conditions for achieving the SDGs and building resilience.

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