The impact of methodological choices on the outcome of national-level climate change vulnerability assessments: an example from the global fisheries sector
Fish and Fisheries
Reason for embargo
Climate change vulnerability assessments have been receiving increasing attention from policy makers and academics. Given scarce funds for adaptation, the UNFCCC Secretariat has suggested that eligible countries be prioritized for support based on their vulnerability to climate change. National-level fisheries sector climate change vulnerability assessments as well as other overall vulnerability assessments to date have lent support to the idea that Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are more vulnerable to climate change than Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other coastal countries. We demonstrate that these perceived differences in vulnerability among country groups are partly due to methodological choices made during these assessments. We argue that national-level vulnerability assessments, and particularly those dealing with the fisheries sector, often suffer from four main methodological shortcomings: 1) an inconsistent representation of countries belonging to each group; 2) use of socio-economic indicators that are not scaled to population size; 3) use of a small number of indicators; and 4) lack of accounting for potential redundancy among indicators. Building on a previous framework, we show that by addressing the four aforementioned methodological shortcomings, the ranking in fisheries sector vulnerability among SIDS, LDCs and other coastal countries is altered significantly. Our results underscore that the vulnerability of SIDS was partially concealed in previous assessments and suggest that SIDS are in fact the most vulnerable group. Although this study focuses on assessing the vulnerability of the fisheries sector to climate change in SIDS, LDCs and other coastal countries, the implications also apply to other sectors and country groupings
This research was carried out with financial support from the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Belize, and the Centre for Resource Management and EnvironmentalStudies (CERMES), University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. The CCCCC has made the funds available to the University of the West Indies, CERMES for the project titled, “Assessing the Vulnerability of Caribbean Fisheries To Climate Change”. The duration of the project is from September 1st 2012 to August 31st 2014.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Wiley via the DOI in this record.
Published online 25 February 2017