Framework for Resilience in a Changing Climate – DRAFT NOT FOR CIRCULATION
Maggie Ibrahim (email@example.com); ODI - Susanne Jaspars (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The challenge of managing risks posed by disasters is becoming more difficult as experience suggests climate change is affecting the frequency,
scale, severity and exposure to hazards as well as vulnerability, thereby increasing disaster risk and uncertainty. This Resilience in a Changing
Climate Framework aims to contribute to increasing the ability of governments, civil society organisations and communities to manage disaster
risks more effectively in a changing climate.
In order to ensure that development approaches and interventions reduce people’s vulnerabilities and contribute to resilience in a changing
climate, we must understand how to promote resilience and ‘climate smart’ programming, including ‘climate smart’ disaster risk
management’ (CS-DRM), humanitarian assistance, social protection and other livelihood support programmes. Climate smart approaches are
expected to enhance the resilience of vulnerable people to climate change. Our evolving approach aims to build a Resilience in Changing
Climate Framework which development practitioners and policy makers can use to guide them and select the relevant aspects of the framework
for their practice.
Developing a Resilience in a Changing Climate Framework – an iterative process
The development of the Resilience in a Changing Climate Framework, has been informed by four literature reviews:
Review of the Concepts of Resilience: how can a better understanding of the concepts of resilience help to inform and shape
development policy and practice? What are the characteristics and indicators of resilient development practice?
Climate-Smart Disaster Risk Management: we have elaborated the concept of ‘climate-smart disaster risk management’ (CS-DRM) to
describe the additional elements of managing disaster risk and uncertainty that need to be considered in the context of climate change.
To what extent can CS-DRM contribute or enhance resilient development in a changing climate?
A comparison of concepts and frameworks of Disaster Risk Management, Climate Change Adaptation, Social Protection and livelihoods
concepts in relation to vulnerability to climate change and resilience
In country literature reviews of key policies and practices related to vulnerability to climate change and resilience in 3 countries: Ethiopia,
Uganda, and Mozambique.
The Resilience in A Changing Climate Framework consists of two elements:
1. An analytical approach which has been informed by the literature reviews, which integrates the different areas of analysis.
2. Two tools to help us interrogate whether development interventions and specifically projects and programmes to manage disaster risks
and uncertainties can contribute to resilience and be ‘climate smart’. These two tools are Table A and Table B.
1. An Analytical Approach to Understanding a Process of Resilience in a Changing Climate
How do we analyse resilience in relation to disaster risk management (DRM), climate change adaptation (CCA), social protection and livelihoods
approaches? There are clearly similarities and overlaps between the different approaches, as DRM and CCA share common objectives of
reducing vulnerability and building resilience to shocks and hazards, but perhaps take slightly different approaches at project level and
timeframes. Social protection and livelihood support measures have similar objectives. The literature underscores the importance of
understanding resilience as a process and not interventions to achieve equilibrium. Furthermore, resilience highlights the need for a system wide
approach which encourages holistic understanding of connections between different components of a system. This process can be understood
as having three central components: drivers of change, people’s or communities’ assets or capital, and disaster risk management strategies.
Together these three components provide an analytical approach in which we can explore evidence from the field.
Drivers of change include political, social, economic, climatic, environmental, conflict, militarization, and securitisation processes. These drivers
of change can promote vulnerability and affect populations differently. Vulnerability is also determined by the reach and accountability of
institutions which impact on resilient development, the policies that influence them, as well as the assets that people have. The functioning of
institutions, as well as people’s access to them, will have a major influence on the livelihood strategies that people and communities choose to
pursue and the level of disaster risk they face. Key institutions in relation to resilient development in a changing climate might include:
government institutions responsible for the provision of assistance or basic services (e.g. Social protection, DRM, safety nets, public works),
legislation concerned with DRM and CCA in particular but also land rights and natural resource management. Markets are also likely to be a key
institution as well as informal institutions such as customary law around the management of resources and social networks. A governments’
policies, in relation to disaster management, resource management and for example land rights, will also have a major impact on vulnerability
and resilience. Assets include: human (including knowledge or access to information), social, physical, natural, financial. It may also include
political assets, which includes access to those with power over decision making on resource allocation or to political authorities. Climate change
will have differentiated impacts on livelihoods assets for different groups. In response to these different risks and vulnerabilities, people will
have developed a number of different disaster risk management strategies which can consist of a variety of ways in managing uncertainty,
reducing risk, sharing and transferring risk, and managing impact. Together these components must be considered in a specific governance
context and spatial location. Furthermore, they must be seen as dynamic and changing over time.
2. Concepts of Resilience
Increasingly, concepts of resilience are being applied to development policy and practice. It is important that we gain a better understanding of
how the concepts of resilience can help to inform our approach and design of the Resilience in a Changing Climate Framework. In order to do so
we have asked:
What are the components of a resilient system?
What are the principles/characteristics of resilience?
What indicators can be used to evaluate these characteristics?
In addition to understanding how to promote resilience in a changing climate, this will help us to identify how “climate smart” programming or
approaches contribute to the promotion of resilience. Through a review of the resilience literature (Bahadur Forthcoming), we (IDS) have come
up with a working definition of resilience:
The capacity of a system to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, learn from and quickly recover from changes in the system – be it climate
shock and stresses or other drivers of change (Adapted from Mayunga 2007).
What are the components of a resilient system?
There is little clarity as to what components make up a resilient system. Understanding the fact that there are relationships between
components is the key, rather than knowing exactly which components contribute to the system. The only components which are clearly
highlighted within the resilience literature are the Five Capitals - human, social, physical, natural, financial (Mayunga 2007) and the governance
system (Ostrom 2009). In response to this gap in the literature, we have turned to the frameworks relating to DRM and have come up with the
following components from the sustainable livelihoods approach: human, social, physical, natural, financial, political assets– which are described
in more detail below:
Human assets represent the skills, knowledge, information, education, ability to work and good health that enable people to pursue
diversified, less exposed or more lucrative livelihood strategies to increase resilience
Social assets refer to access to an extended family and other social networks, such as membership of more formalised groups. These are
linked to social status and leverage power, which may positively affect resilience to climate shocks and stresses
Natural assets comprise natural resource stocks and environmental assets such as agricultural land, forest and water resources, which
people may access and use to build their livelihoods while recognising that these natural assets are part of a dynamic ecosystem.
Physical assets include livestock, land, shelter, tools and equipment, and may also include community-owned assets, e.g. water points,
road infrastructure, communication networks.
Financial assets include income, access to credit and investments.
Emergency livelihood frameworks have added a sixth asset - political assets or capital. This can be most easily interpreted as proximity to
individuals or institutions with power over resources such as political authorities or armed actors.
Characteristics of a Resilient System
In contrast to lack of description of the components of a resilient system, the literature describes numerous characteristics. Through a synthesis
of the literature, we have identified nine key characteristics of a resilient system which include:
I. High Levels of Diversity: ecological diversity; stakeholder diversity; livelihood diversity; diversity in planning, response and recovery
activities ( Folke 2006; Holling 1973; Resilience Alliance, Carpenter et a. 2001).
II. Flexible and Effective Institutions: institutions must be seen as legitimate, inclusive and effective in delivering goals. Furthermore they
must be flexible and reflect the needs of the local community, provide opportunities for learning and experimentation (Folke 2006,
Rockerfeller 2009; Ostrom 2009, Dover and Handmer 1992; Osbahr 2007).
III. Cross Scalar Perspective: interconnectedness between various components of the system through networks which transcend scale
IV. Integrating Uncertainty: through a memory of past disturbances (shocks/stresses) and the existence of protocols that determine action
in the face of disturbance (Holling 1973).
V. Ensuring Community Involvement: participation in decision making, ownership of resources and use of indigenous and local knowledge
(Manyena 2006; Mayunga 2007; Ostrom 2009; Nelson et al. 2007; Dover and Handmer 1992; Berkes 2007, Osbahr 2007).
VI. Promoting Equity: gauging, sharing and distributing risk from disturbances (shocks/stresses) (Nelson et al. 2007).
VII. Accepting Non- Equilibrium: disturbances may cause change in the relationship between components of the system and the aim is to
maintain relationships among components of the system. This persistence of relationship becomes a measure of the systems’ resilience
VIII. Promoting Learning: iterative processes and organisational learning that promote adaptive capacity. Consider a range of plausible
hypotheses about future change in the system, weigh range of possible strategies and favour actions that are robust to uncertainty
(Gunderson and Holling 2001).
IX. Preparedness, Planning and Readiness: accepting that change and disturbances will occur and preparing and planning for failure
through system failure scenarios (Rockefeller Foundation 2009).
These characteristics, along with a review of the existing frameworks relating to DRM have informed the design of Table A- Promoting Resilience
through Assets, Characteristics, Institutions and Indicators
Assets in the table below describe the different livelihood building blocks and strengths from which one can pursue sustainable livelihoods.
Characteristics of resilience describe (characterise) how the assets within the system can promote resilience. The social arrangements and rules
column within the table highlight which rules/ agreements/ social arrangements one might engage with in order to promote resilience. The
indicator column of the table describes how one would know/see that the characteristic which is to support resilience is indeed in place . The
main difference between the characteristic and indicator column is that the indicator is indicative of the presence of these characteristics. A
perhaps useful addition will be guiding questions to ask in order to assess whether the characteristics are present.
The table then aims to provide an overview of the various assets which make up a resilient system, to offer guidance on what type of
characteristics these assets could aim to have and to also provide indicators for each characteristic in order to know that they are promoting
resilience. The point of the table below is to help practitioners and policymakers think through which assets do their activities contribute to and
whether their development approach and intervention is demonstrating the type of characteristics which can promote resilience to the system.
There may be overlaps between characteristics and many of the same institutions may be needed/suggested under the various assets.
Table A- Promoting Resilience: Assets, Characteristics and Indicators
Characteristics of Resilient assets Rules of the Game and Social Indicators of resilient systems
1. Human Adaptive learning - able to incorporate risk Government Information of Risk & Uncertainty incorporated
and uncertainty - Schools into systems. For example:
Understanding of own dynamic in relation to - Health services - Education – includes teaching programme on
a resilient system - Safety nets resilience and climate change. Modules
Knowledge of climate change impacts include vulnerability assessments and how to
Health systems are continually learning and Civil society (gov) contact local meteorological office for data.
adapting to change - DRM training - Human Resources across sectors & industries
Local, Traditional Knowledge considered incorporate vulnerability assessments and
alongside climate and meteorological Media climate science into their policy and
information Social Clubs procedures.
Access to information is prioritised and - Health Systems have used vulnerability
decentralised assessments & structured climate scenarios in
Historical information accessibleLow disease their planning and assessments.
prevalence? Local, Traditional Knowledge considered alongside
Skills climate and meteorological information
Level of education?? Access to information is prioritised and
Availability of labour in the household decentralised
Local, traditional knowledge and climate science
and meteorological information is appropriated in
Government promotes information access
through e-governance programmes, travelling
2.Social Inclusive networks which cross scale and Social networks High degree of coordination & cooperation in the
disciplines Safety nets community
Legitimacy and trust in institutions and Systems of claims and Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships
(in)formalised groups obligations Networks that scale from local to international
Values and norms promote sustainability CBOs or other community Codes of conduct that foster reciprocity and
through a diversity of institutions groups (and committees pluralism
Social norms encourage cooperation, set up for humanitarian
pluralism and participation programmes)
High diversity of stakeholders Church networks
3.Financial Flexible and tailored financial services Employment regulations Saving & credit schemes are based on demand.
Diverse financial institutions in place which Labour conditions (unions, Diverse financial institutions
are responsive to demand professional associations?) Integrated market system and access by producers
Ownership decentralised Rules which set wages for and consumers??
Risk shared through insurance schemes casual labour Access to insurance
Credit and savings systems
Investments: can include
4.Physical Adaptive Infrastructure which is able to Existence of building standards which reduce risk
withstand natural hazards Road infrastructure from natural hazards. For example:
System failures considered and planned for Dams/dykes etc - Coastal defence structures in place based on
Shelter vulnerability and risk analysis.
Communication systems tested and improved
Land rights based on risks and climate scenarios
Grazing rights and routes System failure scenarios in response plans created
through decentralised organisational structures
5.Natural Co-management/ownership of ecosystem Presence& Participation of divergent interests in
assets as part (building on lessons from adaptive co- Natural resource platforms for managing natural Resources within a
of a dynamic management with local community, management systems system
ecosystem government and private sector). (state and customary). High biodiversity; low level rates of soil erosion;
Diversity of use of nature Water, forestry products, high amount of wetland acreage
Land rights and ownership
mechanisms (over natural
7.Political Legislation for rights and accountability Systems of election and Local institutions enable participation in decision
Representation and Equity representation making processes and are seen to be legitimate
Accountability Corruption Needs assessments of local communities and
Legitimacy of institutions based on local Nepotism budget control through local government
engagement Decision making
Decentralised decision making systems
Modify policies as new learning occurs
Promote persistent relationships across
scales and functions
Gauging, sharing and distributing risk
through policies and procedures
3. Climate Smart Characteristics and Indicators for Disaster Risk Management
Practitioners and policy makers have been managing disaster risks across development sectors by tackling vulnerability, reducing, transferring
and sharing risks and enhancing preparedness and response mechanisms. This task is becoming more difficult as climate change appears to be
altering the magnitude and frequency of hazard events and contributing to a change in the underlying vulnerability caused by more subtle shifts
in average climatic condition. These changes force disaster risk managers to reflect on how they can better manage disaster risks and
uncertainties in a changing climate and as a result, what they need to do differently to ensure they are being effective. We aim to gather
evidence against our hypothesis of what ‘climate smart’ disaster risk management includes ( 4 key characteristics below) and sets out to
discover whether a ‘climate smart’ approach to disaster risk management enhances the resilience of vulnerable people to climate change. In
doing so, it will create an evidence base of ‘climate smart disaster risk management’ approaches that demonstrate an ability to strengthen
resilience in a changing climate.
Through a synthesis of case studies on CS-DRM this table identifies four key characteristics of climate smart disaster risk management. These
characteristics can be applied at different scales – from the local, sub-national, national, to regional. Descriptions of good practice will differ
depending on the scale. As of yet, no case study we have experience of demonstrates all four characteristics. Development practitioners and
policymakers are encouraged to integrate these characteristics into their understanding and approach to DRM. Can these characteristics be also
applied to social protection and livelihoods?
Climate Smart DRM Characteristic Descriptions of Good Practice Country Examples
Enable Communities to Adapt Livelihoods Diversification of livelihood strategies North-eastern Bangladesh: a intervention to
through Addressing & Transforming Accountability measures Implemented - address the vulnerability of communities
Underlying Drivers of Vulnerability i.e. Publish what you Spend affected by river erosion and flooding through
Advocacy for participatory decision building capacity in: Flood-friendly agriculture,
making systems Fisheries and livestock resource management;
Legislation that ensures rights for access Flood-resistant housing and multi-purpose
to natural resources (i.e. land, forest use). shelter; Development of alternative income
generation through light engineering training;
Small enterprise development through small
businesses, and Agro-processing for added
value which has created better access to
common property resources, ensuring legal
Promote Iterative Learning which Learning circles which bring together Brazil: Traditional knowledge and climatic
incorporates climate and weather vulnerability assessments, weather and science was consolidated in groups of
information, as well as traditional knowledge climate change data and oral history into yapuchiris who were supported by
development intervention planning and Intercooperation to sell technological and
evaluation. financial services to local farmers. This has
Innovative local technologies developed resulted in a significant reduction of crop
based on understanding local vulnerability losses from drought, hail, frost and flooding,
and climate science, such as floating and has also led to the stabilisation of market
gardens for flood prone area. access for local crops.
Iterative learning undertaken at the
individual and organisational level which
values experimentation; monitoring of
results; update assessments; modification
of policies and practice as new knowledge
Foster Integration & Networks Multi –sectoral approach to national Vietnam: preparation of Disaster Risk
(Coordination & Linkages Across Sectors, Scales poverty reduction plans. Management Plans at community and school
and Stakeholders) Inclusion of diverse stakeholders in the levels, along with the promotion of diversified
decision making, conceptualisation and income sources to minimise the livelihood
implementation of development impact of losing crops or fishing equipment in
interventions. extreme weather events.
Networks which bring together a range of Nepal: disaster risk management planning and
stakeholders from local to national level risk assessments were integrated into
for information sharing and learning for livelihood approaches. Following a
climate smart DRM. vulnerability and needs assessment, the
communities themselves identified the small
size of their land holdings, their dependence
on adequate and timely rain, and the impact
of drought as major constraints to both their
ability to earn a living, and to survive the
impacts of natural hazards such as seasonal
Do not contribute to the Causes of Climate Conduct carbon foot print of proposed
Conduct environmental impact
assessment of development intervention.
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