Vulnerability assessments are the first place to start for reef managers to support efforts to reduce vulnerability and build resilience. Once the nature and magnitude of vulnerability of a coastal community is understood, it is easier to identify and prioritize useful strategies. There are three main types of vulnerability assessments:
- Expert Assessments — Rapid, expert-based assessments aid in prioritizing and identifying gaps that need to be addressed. These assessments can take the form of an informal workshop or simple survey, in which relevant experts evaluate exposure, risk and adaptive capacity of key sectors or regions. Climate experts, climate data and prediction models may also be included in the assessment.
- Desk-top Reviews — Desk-top reviews facilitate a formal compilation and analysis of existing information to understand the vulnerability and priority sectors or communities in detail. There may be existing sources of information that can be used in detailed assessments of sensitivity and adaptive capacity of communities. Information can also be obtained from regional or national data sources, such as National census data, community demographic reports, market analyses, and other relevant data may be held by governments, progress groups and NGOs.
- Research Programs — Research that collects primary data to support vulnerability assessments and inform strategies to build resilience should be considered by managers. Researcher programs can be commissioned or managers can consider collaborating with current research programs that collect primary data. Surveys of key knowledge holders/special interest groups (industry representatives, community leaders, fishermen, etc.) can provide useful information and can be simple and relatively inexpensive.
Indicators to assess community-level social vulnerability (download pdf, 864k)