Risk assessment for the sustainability of coastal communities: A preliminary study

Muhammad Sajjad*, Johnny C L Johnny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


With communities increasingly concentrated in coastal regions globally, governments and stakeholders call for cohesive risk assessments for future sustainability in the wake of natural hazards. This can only be achieved through risk-based decision-making and smart resources treatment. To provide a basis for such actions, we here propose a risk assessment (RA) framework focusing on the risk-resilience-sustainability nexus. In contrast to focusing on the traditional RA approach, we propose an integrative approach based on hazard, vulnerability, and resilience covering the full spectrum of RA for effective risk reduction. We further explain how the proposed framework can simultaneously provide useful input for resilience management in parallel to achieving certain Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We apply this framework for typhoon risk assessment (represented by a Typhoon Risk Index-TRI) of coastal counties of mainland China. Different TRIs e.g. total population, elderly population, non-adult population, and economic status are calculated for each coastal county to supplement multi-objective empirical measures for risk reduction. The RA results show a large spatial heterogeneity in typhoon risk with an increase in the risk from north to south along the coast of mainland China. The comparative results from this study are relevant to the prioritization of different regions for immediate or gradual actions, wise decision-making, and risk reduction through proper treatment of resources-related policy implications. The evaluation of the SDGs achievement status reveals that the overall performance of coastal provinces in mainland China is higher to achieve SDGs 3 and 15 followed by 13 and 8. The study shows that while Guangdong province is in the highest risk category, its achievement status for SDG-13 (climate actions, strengthening resilience) is the lowest relative to other provinces, which is critical. This study represents a major scientific contribution to mainland China's coastal risk management and calls for aligning risk-informed planning and sustainability frameworks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-350
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date26 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019

User-Defined Keywords

  • Risk-resilience-sustainability nexus
  • Tropical cyclones
  • Spatial risk analysis
  • Risk reduction
  • SDGs


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