Press Release

Stimson Center Releases New Analysis on the Climate Threat to Coastal Cities in East Africa

Featuring Sally Yozell

Risk Profiles for Mombasa and Dar es Salaam are latest from the CORVI Project, an innovative tool for measuring climate risk to coastal cities

New Data Portal opens up CORVI data to researchers, leaders worldwide

Glasgow, Scotland – Today at COP26, the Stimson Center’s Environmental Security program released new data and Risk Profiles, detailing the threat that climate change poses to coastal cities of Mombasa, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This new analysis is the latest from CORVI, a data-driven decision support tool for leaders who need to make smart climate investments to improve the safety and security of coastal cities.

CORVI is designed to help leaders in governments, financial institutions, and the financial sector as they prioritize investment and build climate resilience. The tool compares ecological, financial, and political risks across nearly 100 risk indicators to produce holistic coastal city risk profiles.

Both Cities Face Medium to High Risk from Climate Change

The Risk Profiles show that Mombasa and Dar es Salaam both face medium, medium-high, or high risk across all ten categories measured by CORVI. The Profiles also make targeted, concrete recommendations of priority actions that local decisionmakers could implement to improve their cities’ climate resilience.

New Data Portal Shares CORVI with World

The Environmental Security program also launched the new CORVI Data Portal. All completed CORVI assessment data is added to the portal, allowing users to visualize and interact with the CORVI risk data. As more CORVI assessments are completed, users will also be able to compare different city risk profiles and assess regional trends. Partners conducting CORVI assessments use the Data Portal to collect and process data, making it easier to complete an assessment so that leaders can take action sooner.

“The climate emergency is affecting the livelihoods and security of coastal cities across SIDS and developing coastal countries. The global community needs to expand climate finance and help cities adapt and build resilience before it’s too late. CORVI brings together data across the land and seascape to provide a detailed, holistic climate risk assessment for coastal cities. With this information, leaders can prioritize scarce resources to safeguard their citizens and cities,” said Sally Yozell, Director of the Environmental Security Program at the Stimson Center. 

More Findings from the East African Cities Risk Profiles

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is a sprawling city, home to an estimated 6.4 million people and is the world’s fastest-growing and most populated coastal city in East Africa, and fifth largest in Africa. Rapid urbanization is a key issue, driving risk across multiple categories and indicators.

In Dar es Salaam, CORVI scores highlight significant economic and social factors under financial and political risk that are increasing vulnerability across the city. Although relatively safe from tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall and flooding are constant concerns. This is compounded by unplanned settlements with the majority of the population living in informal housing, a lack of solid waste management contributing to urban flooding.

Mombasa, Kenya is home to the largest international seaport in East Africa and is critical to the economic security of Kenya and neighboring countries in the East and Central Africa. CORVI scores show significant vulnerability under financial risk as climate and ocean risk threaten tourism, shipping, and fishing industries. Although relatively safe from cyclones, flooding from heavy and erratic rainfall and rising sea levels is a major issue. This has been compounded by rapid urbanization, which has led to infrastructure and housing deficits, and, if left unaddressed, will stop the city from building climate resilience in the city.

The complete East Africa report, including detailed methodology is also available: https://www.stimson.org/2021/measuring-multidimensional-climate-risks-in-east-africas-coastal-cities/

About CORVI

CORVI is a decision support tool for leaders who need to make smart climate investments to improve the safety and security of coastal cities. Currently operating in eight coastal cities around the world, CORVI organizes data and information across the land and seascape to provide decision makers with the complete risk picture they need to act. More: CORVI: How it Works

As the impact of climate change grows, decision makers in governments, financial institutions, and the insurance industry need targeted risk information to ensure that limited resources are being used to safeguard people, their livelihoods, and to build a more resilient future. More: CORVI Use Cases

That is why the Stimson Center developed CORVI, the Climate and Ocean Risk Vulnerability Index, a decision support tool which compares a diverse range of ecological, financial, and political risks connected to climate change, to produce a coastal city risk profile. This information can be used to identify and categorize risk across sectors, aid in the design of integrated policy solutions, and access climate investment to build resilient coastal cities.

Coastal cities are at the forefront of the climate emergency. Rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and warming temperatures are amplifying the vulnerability of city residents. Many coastal cities are already grappling with underlying economic and social issues, such as inequality, employment invulnerable industries, outdated infrastructure, and governance gaps. Today an estimated 40% of the world’s population live within 100 km of the coast and by 2050, over 580 cities, home to 800 million residents, are expected to be at risk from climate and ocean risks.

CORVI was first announced at the Ocean Risk Summit in 2018 in partnership with AXA XL Insurance and Reinsurance, with initial findings communicated at the sixth annual Our Oceans Conference 2019 in Oslo, Norway during a panel keynoted by former Secretary of State for the United States, John Kerry.

CORVI risk assessments were initially piloted in the Caribbean cities of Castries, St. Lucia and Kingston, Jamaica. Since then, CORVI has quickly expanded to an additional six cities across East Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. The growing reach of CORVI has allowed Stimson to create a body of comparative regional city-level data which will be used to provide greater insights into both the trends and nuanced risks specific regions, and cities, face.

The Stimson Center’s Environmental Security program explores the array of environmental threats, both human and natural, that have the potential to undermine national, regional, or global security.

The Stimson Center promotes international security, shared prosperity & justice through applied research and independent analysis, deep engagement, and policy innovation.

For three decades, Stimson has been a leading voice on urgent global issues. Founded in the twilight years of the Cold War, the Stimson Center pioneered practical new steps toward stability and security in an uncertain world. Today, as changes in power and technology usher in a challenging new era, Stimson is at the forefront: Engaging new voices, generating innovative ideas and analysis, and building solutions to promote international security, prosperity, and justice.

More at www.stimson.org.

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