Evolution in Coastal Vulnerability Assessment Tools of the Small Island Developing States in the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea Region: A Review

Document Type : Original Research Article


1 Department of Environment, Science and Social Sustainability, School of Sustainable Development and Tourism, University of Technology, Mauritius

2 Department of Environment, Science and Social Sustainability, SCHOOL OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM, University of Technology, Mauritius


Island nations around the world are vulnerable to natural coastal dynamics and the anticipated effects of climate change given their geographic locations and size. It is critical for such states to assess and quantify the probable consequences of coastal dangers in order to preserve their assets and protect their lives. Technological advancement these past years has changed the discipline of vulnerability assessment so much that today detailed and accurate results of impacts can be obtained and used for management practices. This study aimed at reviewing the literature on coastal vulnerability assessment methods used in the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and South China Sea Region and analyze the evolution in tools used over the years as a measure of island nations’ resolution to adapt to future changes. Using a series of specific keywords such as ‘coastal vulnerability assessment’ + ‘Maldives’ to grab relevant materials in Google Scholar and Google search engine for the period 1987 to 2019, over 100 papers were analyzed and filtered for relevancy to the topic. The results revealed an evolution in coastal vulnerability assessment tools in the AIMS region from paper based CVI methods to more robust models like GIS. Despite the vulnerability of AIMS SIDS to coastal hazards, financial resources and technical expertise, they are engaging in assessing their vulnerability to external hazards. This review sheds light on the various coastal vulnerability assessment tools used in island nations thereby forming a knowledge base for policy and decision makers, researchers and scientists involved in coastal management.


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