Climate change, particularly its associated sea level rise, is major threat to mangrove coastal areas, and it is essential to develop ways to reduce vulnerability through strategic management planning. Vulnerability has three dimensions of exposure to stresses, associated sensitivity, and related adaptive capacity, and ways to measure components of each were trialled at sites in Africa and the South Pacific to develop an analysis procedure based on ranking. The approaches of the ranking system for vulnerability assessment of mangrove systems integrate biotic and abiotic factors along with human management components, using validated methods previously developed for other research questions. These include determining mangrove forest health, adjacent ecosystem resilience, the extent and effects of human impacts, and the environmental conditions of different mangrove settings. Results of the vulnerability assessment ranking using up to 20 measurements found all sites to have some components of vulnerability. Douala Estuary, Cameroon showed the highest vulnerability, owing to low tidal range, impacts from non-climate stressors, and evidence of moderate seaward edge retreat. Tikina Wai, Fiji showed inherent vulnerability owing to location on a subsiding coastline with a low tidal range, but this was offset by strong local community management capacity. Rufiji Delta, Tanzania showed inherent resilience owing to location on an uplifting coastline with a macrotidal range, but showed vulnerability from human impacts and lower local community management capacity. The most critical components to the vulnerability assessment were found to be exposure components of relative sea level trends and sediment supply, and sensitivity components of forest health, recent spatial changes and net accretion rates. The results provide a baseline against which to establish long-term ongoing monitoring, allowing continued assessment of the complex dynamics of climate change impacts, and providing an information base for strategic management decisions.