The Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI) is a rapid assessment tool that has been specifically developed for application in World Heritage (WH) properties.

The CVI framework builds upon the vulnerability framework approach described in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  However, the CVI differs from many vulnerability assessments because it comprises two distinct stages (see Figure below) and can be applied across all types of WH properties, assessing:

  • the OUV Vulnerability (OUV = Outstanding Universal Value, the central concept for World Heritage); this assesses the exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity of the key WH values that collectively comprise the OUV, assessing how they will be impacted by three key climate drivers chosen to be the most relevant for that WH property; and
  • the Community Vulnerability based on the economic, social and cultural dependencies upon the WH property, and the adaptive capacity of these to cope with climate change.

The OUV Vulnerability is an important outcome of the CVI process, as is the final outcome, the Community Vulnerability, which assesses the extent to which the community may be able to adapt, an aspect rarely considered in assessments of climate impacts.  Both results of vulnerability are, however, highly relevant for many groups including the site managers, the responsible management agencies, the businesses that are dependent on the property and the local communities around each WH property.

For more information on the CVI, see here.

CVI Development Team


  • Scott Heron, James Cook University (Australia)
  • Jon Day, James Cook University (Australia)


  • Adam Markham, Union of Concerned Scientists (USA)
  • Imogen Zethoven, Australian Marine Conservation Society
  • Nadine Marshall, formerly CSIRO (Australia)
  • Margaret Gooch, Cairns Institute (Australia)
  • Di Jarvis, CSIRO (Australia)
  • Matt Curnock, CSIRO (Australia)
  • John Gross, National Park Service (USA)
  • Paul Marshall, formerly Reef Ecologic (Australia)
  • Mark Eakin, NOAA (USA)


  • Andrew Potts, ICOMOS (USA)
  • Terry Hughes, James Cook University (Australia)