Vulnerability Assessment of Developing Countries: The Case of Small-island Developing States


  • She wishes to thank the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) for funding the field research programme in Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji, Samoa and Kiribati and the United Nations University for the PhD Fellowship with the UN/Institute of Advanced Studies to complete this research.


This article puts forward a spatial perspective in framing the methodology for vulnerability assessment (VA) of developing countries, with special reference to small-island developing states (SIDS). Geographic vulnerability from a developing-world perspective is defined by the country's susceptibility to physical and human pressures, risks and hazards in temporal and spatial contexts. In constructing the composite vulnerability index (CVI), four core indicators are selected as sub-indices. The study confirms the vulnerability of SIDS based on four dimensions, namely, coastal index (G1), peripherality index (G2), urbanisation indicator (G3) and vulnerability to natural disasters (G4), and advocates consideration of place vulnerability and temporal distinctions when assessing the vulnerability of SIDS in particular.