Enhancing resilience

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  • Dear Mr Alexander: Thank you for your enriching and enlightening work for the concept of resilience. It is a nice word I like to combine with flexiverance, a 'self-made' mixture of flexibility and perseverance.
    Under my non-expert-opinion, in your exposition I am missing a quite important concept related to resilience, and this could be the perseverance or long term of the resilience itself.
    I would not understand as resilient something or someone who is not maintaining this attribute under many 'attacks'.
    I would appreciate your opinion about these thoughts.
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Enhancing resilience

  1. 1. Enhancing Resilience David Alexander University College London Kesennuma, Japan
  2. 2. An academic perspective on enhancing business and community resilience.
  3. 3. • the concept has a millennial history • there are many possible definitions • is it the opposite of vulnerability? • should it focus on the community scale? • an objective, a process or a strategy? . Resilience
  4. 4. RESILIENCE: as a material has brittle strength and ductility: society must have an optimum combination of resistance to hazard impacts and ability to adapt to them.
  5. 5. Broader scope and outcomes Changing objectives of emergency management Civil Protection Disaster Management Resilience Civil Contingencies Management Disaster Risk Reduction
  6. 6. General resilience Disaster resilience Disaster mitigation Disaster response The broader picture
  7. 7. physical environmental social economic health-related cultural educational infrastructural institutional RESILIENCE COPING VULNERABILITY FRAGILITY SUSCEPTIBILITY Organisation: • public admin. • private sector • civil society Community Individual Resilience: facets... ...and relationships
  8. 8. Can we really understand a holistic concept like resilience by breaking it down into its component parts? Is the category approach helpful or merely a hindrance to understanding?
  9. 9. Attitude The ingredients of resilience
  10. 10. Emergency communications Search and rescue Emergency medical response Emergency management Emergency response Health system Contingency planning
  11. 11. Is resilience a paradigm? Paradigm: a conceptual or methodological model underlying the theories and practices of a science or discipline at a particular time.
  12. 12. Is this resilience? Family home
  13. 13. What does resilience, or the lack of it, really mean?
  14. 14. Proposition: the opposite of resilience is not vulnerability, or failure to prepare for disaster, it is corruption.
  15. 15. • corruption • political decision-making • shoddy building (often wilful) • ignorance (sometimes wilful) • seismicity. What causes earthquake disasters? - in probable order of importance -
  16. 16. • difficult to define • virtually impossible to measure • extremely pervasive, endogenous • moral and ethical frameworks vary • links with other ills (black economy). Corruption
  17. 17. The principal problem with the concept of resilience may simply be that we have asked too much of it.
  18. 18. In one sense, the opposite of resilience is vulnerability: in another it is uncertainty.
  19. 19. ResilienceResistance Risk Susceptibility Physical (including natural, built, technological) Social (including cultural, political, economic) Environment Attributes Source: McEntire 2001 LiabilitiesCapabilities VULNERABILITY
  20. 20. DETERMINISM Cause Effect PROBABILITY (constrained uncertainty) Cause Single, multiple or cascading effects THE KNOWN THE UNKNOWN PURE UNCERTAINTY Causal relationship unknown Grey area
  21. 21. Cascading effects Collateral vulnerability Secondary disasters Interaction between risks Climate change Probability Indeterminacy "Fat-tailed" (skewed) distributions of impacts
  22. 22. • it is different for natural, social technological and intentional disasters • the principal problem refers to exceptional high-magnitude events • 'black swans' do not exist in this field • neither do 'fat-tailed' distributions (but skewed distributions do exist) • scenarios for uncertainty are difficult. Challenges of coping with uncertainty
  23. 23. Interdisciplinarity and fragmentation of effort
  24. 24. Ecology Geology (& Geomorphology) Geophysics (inc. Seismology) Volcanology Climatology Hydraulics Hydrology Meteorology Architecture Civil engineering Geotechnical engineering Structural engineering Mechanical & electrical engineeringInformation & communication technology (ICT) Computer technology Remote sensing Risk analysis (inc. risk identification, estimation, management & communication) Cartography Development studies Economics Geography, History Jurisprudence & legal stds Urban & regional planning Mass media studies Psychology Sociology Epidemiology Nursing Nutrition Pharmacology General medicine Surgery & emergency medicine Public health, hygiene & epidemiology Veterinary sciences Health sciences Social & spatial sciences Computational & analytical sciences Construction sciences Atmospheric & water sciences Earth & environmental sciences HAZARD, RISK and DISASTER CONSTITUENT DISCIPLINES
  25. 25. Organisational systems: management Social systems: behaviour Natural systems: function Technical systems: malfunction VulnerabilityHazard Resilience Political systems: decisions
  26. 26. RESILIENCE Social Technical Physical Psychological natural social technological intentional compound cascading CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION DISASTER RISK REDUCTION SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCE OTHER HAZARDS AND RISKS
  27. 27. The concept of resilience interfaces with sustainability.
  28. 28. SUSTAINABILITY OF DISASTER RISK REDUCTION DAILY RISKS (e.g.unem- ployment, poverty) EMERGING RISKS (e.g. climate change, pandemics) GENERAL SUSTAINABILITY (e.g. lifestyles, economic activities, environment) MAJOR DISASTER RISKS (e.g. floods, drought, landslides, heatwaves)
  29. 29. RISKS daily: unemployment, poverty, disease, etc. major disaster: floods, storms, quakes, etc. emerging risks: pandemics, climate change SUSTAINABILITY disaster risk reduction resource consumption stewardship of the environment economic activities lifestyles and communities SUSTAINABILITY
  30. 30. Sustainable development and livelihoods Sustainable civil protection programmes Sustainable funding Public and political support
  31. 31. It is often argued that the concept of resilience is best applied at the community level.
  32. 32. • a social grouping that may or may not occupy a definable physical space • an open-ended concept with no predefined geographical scale • a heterogeneous group of people with different views and perspectives • a power structure that exists for the benefit of the powerful (elite capture). What is a community?
  33. 33. Society Culture Politics Economy Welfare Hospitals Church Media Community- based services Family Community Workplace individual Bronfenbrenner's community resilience theory Microsystem MesosystemMacrosystem Chronosystem Exosystem
  34. 34. • a source of factions and conflict • dominated by powerful individuals • indifferent to disaster risk reduction • lacking in social cohesion • indisposed to act without coercion. Communities may be...
  35. 35. BENIGN (healthy) at the service of the people MALIGN (corrupt) at the service of vested interests interplay dialectic Justification Development [spiritual, cultural, political, economic] IDEOLOGY CULTURE
  36. 36. Conclusions Tacloban, Philippines: five beached ships with a community on the seaward side of them, March 2014.
  37. 37. Personal or private interestsPublic interest Cultural acceptability LESSONS ...LEARNED? Sustainable lessons Uncertainty, unpredictability LESSONS ...LEARNED? Incentives to learn
  38. 38. MAGNITUDE & FREQUENCY KNOWLEDGESCIENCE LEGISLATION IMPLEMENTATION COMPLIANCE LAG LAG LAG CUMULATIVE LAG EVENTS
  39. 39. Broad professional training in emergency management Professional experience and training Disciplinary training (e.g. bachelor's degree) Common culture Common language Common objectives
  40. 40. • advances in knowledge have had a valuable impact • the whole DRR problem is better known than ever before • interdisciplinary research and problem- solving have made some progress • but the balance is still weighted heavily in favour of a worsening situation. In a positive sense...
  41. 41. Armaments Drug trade People trafficking Forced migration Censorship Tax havens Tax avoidance Domination Repression Polarisation Expoitation Dictatorship Rape Attrocities Denial of asylum Warfare Asymetrical conflict Militias Terrorism Poverty Torture Enslavement Suppression of dissent Racism Domestic violence Hunger Refugees
  42. 42. david.alexander@ucl.ac.uk www.slideshare.net/dealexander emergency-planning.blogspot.com Ishinomaki, Japan

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