Countries with the lowest vulnerability are predominantly in the developed world, finds a new index

Middle and eastern Africa as well as southern Asia are the areas with the highest climate change vulnerability, according to a new index.

Countries with the lowest levels are predominantly located in the developed world.

The index takes into account factors of climate change vulnerability from six groups: economy; natural resources and ecosystems; poverty, development and health; agriculture; population, settlement and infrastructure; and institutions, governance and social capital.

The research, by Maplecroft, was designed to help decision makers assessing climate change risks.

Maplecroft said: Climate change vulnerability can be defined as a combination of factors that influence the capacity of individuals, communities, economies and societies to mitigate the risks from climate change.’

‘The extent to which a change in the intensity/distribution of natural hazards or a change in ecosystems as a result of climate change will impact human society is directly linked to the extent to which it is vulnerable to those changes,’ said the firm.

The editor of the research, professor Alyson Warhurst, said: ‘Reducing vulnerability is one of the most important aspects of society’s response to climate change and it can be directly influenced by governments, international organisations and business. We hope that this research will help policymakers assess vulnerability to climate change and take more effective, targeted action to reduce it around the world.’