Building resilience in coastal cities – the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index (CORVI)

Coastal cities are on the frontline of climate and ocean change, with  at least 570 cities  expected to be adversely affected by rising seas and storm surges  by 2050.  Due to intensifying extreme weather events  and the loss of coastal ecosystems, some coastal cities face impaired water quality and diminished natural  defenses, in addition to challenges such as rapid  urbanisation, aging infrastructure, and governance gaps.

To  comprehensively address  these  interlocking  risks  and protect the  economic, food, and environmental  security  of  coastal cities and their residents,  local  decision makers need  information  that  helps  them  prioritise  action, access capital, and make smart investments  to build resilience.

ORRAA partners  the  Stimson Center and Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF)  have developed the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index (CORVI), an innovative tool which compares a diverse range of environmental, economic, and political  factors  connected to climate change,  to produce a coastal  city’s  risk profile.  The development of the CORVI tool has been supported by AXA XL, SPF, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

CORVI  collects  over 3,000 empirical data points and  experts’  surveys from government officials, academics, civil society  leaders, and  private sector  representatives. The data spans 10 risk categories and  close to 100 indicators, allowing CORVI to compare a wide variety of economic, social, and environmental risks across multiple sectors.

In June 2020, the Stimson Center released its  first  CORVI report  with  two initial  city risk profiles:  Castries, Saint Lucia and Kingston, Jamaica.  Assessments  are underway in  Chattogram, Bangladesh; Dagupan, Philippines; Dar  es  Salaam, Tanzania; Mombasa, Kenya; and Suva, Fiji, with additional coastal cities to be added soon.  As  more city risk profiles are compiled, the growing CORVI dataset will enable comparisons on the vulnerability and resilience of coastal cities across the globe.