Indicator-based tools for assessing ocean risks and vulnerabilities

The future of the ocean economy depends on our ability to navigate, mitigate and adapt to climate change and other environmental and socioeconomic shocks and their interlinked impacts. This brief provides an overview of existing indicator-based tools to assess ocean risks and vulnerabilities based on a systematic review of peer-reviewed articles and grey literature. It describes different approaches to conceptualizing risk and vulnerability, as well as the variety of metrics and data used in existing indicator-based assessments. The review identified a disproportionate focus on climate change (among the diversity of ocean risks) and that most studies neglect the complex interlinkages and cumulative impacts of different types of risk. Data gaps are a particular limitation for assessment of risk among Sub-Saharan small island developing states (SIDS) and coastal least developed countries (LDCs). Future research needs to identify ways to 1) understand interlinked and cumulative impacts from multiple stressors and risks, 2) conduct regular environmental and socioeconomic surveys in data-poor regions, and 3) overcome data challenges by developing and strengthening data-poor assessment methods such as use of fuzzy logic.

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