Resources & Climate

CORVI 101: What is the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index?

Essential information about the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index

  • June 1, 2020
  • 10:18 pm

Coastal cities in emerging economies and Small Island Developing States are at the forefront of the climate emergency. Rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and warming temperatures are amplifying the vulnerability of city residents, even as migration to coastal cities increases. Over the next decade, the global population is expected to increase to ten billion, with about 40 percent of the world’s population living within 100 kilometers of the coast. Climate-related risks intersect with existing social, economic, and political vulnerability to degrade economic, food, and environmental security. Recognizing the interrelated and cascading nature of physical changes, environmental degradation, and demographic shifts, there is a demand by governments, international institutions, and the private sector for tools that can help them quantify threats to sustainable development.

In response, the Stimson Center has developed CORVI: The Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index, an innovative tool which compares a diverse range of risks to produce a coastal city risk profile. With this information decision makers can make smart investments to build resilience where it matters most. 

CORVI Beneficiaries

In this environment, leaders need to better understand the impacts of climate change and integrate the climate fragility risks into their decision making to help prioritize actions.  

  • For GOVERNMENTS, CORVI is a tool to quantify the threat posed by climate change, prioritize action, devise innovative policy solutions, and attract international funding to build resilience. 
  • For PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INVESTORS, CORVI provides a detailed assessment of climate fragility risks designed to improve investment decisions that target actions for effective resilience building in coastal cities. 
  • The INSURANCE INDUSTRY can use CORVI to improve asset pricing and risk transfer, and drive resilience by enabling investment in the most vulnerable areas. 

A Decision Tool for the Future

While empirical data on the impacts of climate and ocean risks has greatly improved, data gaps exist. Accessing comparative city level data remains a challenge. Despite this, decision makers need information today that can help integrate resilience planning in an effective and timely manner. To overcome this challenge, CORVI uses structured expert judgement to quantify risk when existing empirical data is inadequate. By combining empirical and expert survey data, the CORVI assessment collects data in areas that would otherwise be unavailable to researchers.  

Through measuring ecological, financial, and political risk across 10 categories and close to 100 indicators, CORVI gives decision makers critical insights into the challenges their cities face.  

After pilot projects in the Caribbean CORVI is expanding fast, with additional assessments underway across the globe.  

Assessments Completed – Castries, Saint Lucia 
– Kingston, Jamaica 
Assessments underway – Dar es Salaam, Tanzania  
– Mombasa, Kenya 
– Suva, Fiji 
Assessments Planned (cities in) – Bangladesh 
– Belize 
– Philippines 

In sum, CORVI is an index designed to support smart future investment in climate resilience across coastal cities. Climate and ocean risks are on the rise and against this backdrop, building resilience requires flexibility and enhanced capacity through social, economic, and environmental systems. CORVI is a valuable tool for decision makers to identify and categorize risk across sectors and aid in the design of integrated policy solutions to build climate resilient cities. If this is not done, the risk of instability will only grow, with devastating consequences for the security of city residents, states, and the international community.


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