Category: Results

EVI Think Tank II

templatemo_image_06The Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI) is an indicators-based method which has been developed in partnership by SOPAC, UNEP, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, and Norway in collaboration with the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) institutions and experts. The EVI was developed in response to a call made in the 1994 Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of  Small Island Developing States to prepare a composite vulnerability index that incorporated both economic and ecological concerns. The EVI concentrates on measuring ecological vulnerability and seeks to support other vulnerability indices initiatives, including the economic vulnerability index and a soon-to-be developed social vulnerability index, as part of the global move towards determining how development could be achieved sustainably.

The EVI model can be used to quantify the vulnerability of the natural environment to damage from natural and anthropogenic hazards at national scales. It is the first global attempt to develop such an ecological index. The EVI will support decision-makers by providing a pragmatic approach that will enable them to ‘see’ the problem, as well as identify actions that could be taken to manage vulnerability and protect or build environmental resilience of a country.

Cover-Think-Tank-IIPurpose of the Meeting

The purpose of this meeting was to assemble a small group of internationally recognised scientists to examine the EVI and its indicators in order to obtain critique on its design and function and seek recommendations for refinements to improve the EVI and its robustness. The Think Tank was run between the dates of 4 – 6 October 2004 at the SOPAC Secretariat, Suva, Fiji. The overall aims of the Think Tank were to:

  • To obtain peer-review and commentary from experts;
  • To obtain constructive technical inputs to improve the EVI to make it acceptable and/or operational in the international community;
  • Provide expert reference towards the setting and justification of sustainable thresholds of EVI indicators
  • Outline an action plan for future international research and work towards sustainable thresholds and indicators that will help in steering the international community towards sustainability.

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The EVI 2004

ocean-die-offThis report presents the results for the Environmental Vulnerability Index (EVI) for 2004 across 235 countries and territories.

Without exception, the environment is the life-support system for all human systems and is an integral part of the development success of countries. The Environmental Vulnerability Index is among the first tools now being developed to focus environmental management at the same scales that environmentally-significant decisions are made (countries), and focus them on outcomes. This is an appropriate scale because it is the one at which major decisions affecting the environment in terms of policies, economics and social and cultural behaviours are implemented.

The EVI uses 50 smart indicators for estimating the vulnerability of the environment of a country to future shocks. It is reported simultaneously as a single dimensionless index, several sub-indices, and as a profile showing the results for each indicator, allowing users to assess overall conditions and then drill-down to identify issues. This means that in addition to an overall signal of vulnerability, the EVI can be used to identify specific problems. It has been designed to reflect the status of a country’s environmental vulnerability, which refers to the extent to which the natural environment is prone to damage and degradation. It does not address the vulnerability of the social, cultural or economic systems, and not the environment that has become dominated by human systems (e.g. cities, farms). Indicators for the EVI were selected to characterise the risks to and resilience / vulnerability of the complex interactive and hierarchical natural systems that support countries. Data are collected for each indicator and located within an EVI scale which ranges between 1 – 7, where the value EVI = 1 indicates low vulnerability or high resilience, and EVI = 7 indicates extreme vulnerability for a country relating to an indicator.

EVI 31-12-04

The EVI results for 2004 categorise countries into 5 vulnerability groups ranging from Extremely vulnerable, Highly vulnerable, Vulnerable, At risk and Resilient. The EVI results are based on publicly available datasets as well as data compiled from 32 collaborating countries. The results include an overall listing of countries and their vulnerability status, as well as country reports that detail the results for a single country. The country reports, in addition to the overall EVI scores, provide information on 7 policy-relevant sub-indices, including aspects of vulnerability related to climate change; exposure to natural disasters; human health; agriculture and fisheries; water resources; and desertification and biodiversity. A detailed breakdown of the 50 indicators is also provided with a list of those issues contributing the most to a country’s vulnerability, as well as those aspects of greatest  resilience that could be preserved. The EVI is now ready for application. In the pages that follow we present the first full evaluation of the EVI, and result sheets for selected countries, particularly SIDS. 

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