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Compendium on methods and tools to evaluate impacts of, vulnerability and adaptation to, climate change

The South Pacific Island Methodology (SPIM)

The South Pacific Island Methodology is an index-based approach that uses relative scores to evaluate different adaptation options in a variety of scenarios. The coastal zone is viewed as six interacting systems. There are three “hard” systems, the natural environment, the people, and infrastructure, and three “soft” systems, which encompass the less tangible elements of the coastal system, the institutions, the socio-cultural factors, and the economic system. These are further divided into subsystems.

The user gives each subsystem a vulnerability and a resilience score from -3 to +3, based on expert judgment, for the following scenarios:

  1. Today’s situation;
  2. The future with sea level rise and no management;
  3. The future with sea level rise and optimum management.

For each subsystem, the two values are combined to produce a sustainable capacity index for each scenario.

Appropriate Use Particularly useful in coastal settings with limited quantitative data but considerable experience and qualitative knowledge. Can be used during initial evaluation phases to analyse a range of possible adaptation options. Should be followed by a more quantitative analysis of the chosen option.
Scale SPIM is regional in scale and most relevant to the South Pacific Islands.
Key Output Defines a sustainable capacity index for the subsystems defined.
Key Input Expert judgment and qualitative information on the relative performance of various adaptation options.
Ease of Use Relatively easy to use because it requires very little quantitative data.
Training Required Limited training is required, although background knowledge of physical, social, and economic characteristics of the area is helpful.
Training Available No formal training currently
Computer Requirements None
Documentation Documented in Yamada et al, 1995.
International Studies

Used in several Pacific Island countries, including Fiji.
Yamada et al (1995) Mimura and Harasawa (2000) Kay and Hay (1993) Nunn et al (1994a, 1994b, 1996).

Contacts for Framework, Documentation, Technical Assistance

Prof. N. Mimura, CWES, Ibaraki University 4-12-1 Nakanarusawa, Hitachi, Ibaraki 316, Japan; Tel:

Prof. P. Nunn, Technical Assistance, University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji; Tel: 679.313.900; Fax: 679.301.305.

Cost No cost for documentation, although cost of the analysis itself will depend on the availability and cost of data and local experts.