An Introduction to Resilience for Humanitarian Workers


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This presentation is a simple compilation of Resilience definitions, approach to understand resilience and indicators use to identify resilience. This will be helpful for humanitarian workers to get a overview of the resilience concept quickly. A list of reference given in the last slide for further reading.

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An Introduction to Resilience for Humanitarian Workers

  1. 1. Foundation Course for NARRI Staffs 9 June 2013 Koitta, Manikganj, Bangladesh Shashanka Saadi, Director, Research for Development & Market (RDM) and Eisenhower Fellow 2012, Bangladesh
  2. 2.  Conceptual clarity on DRR resilience  Principles of DRR resilience  Some experience in regional Context  Way forward-context Bangladesh
  3. 3. Conceptual clarity on DRR resilience
  4. 4.  “The ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner” United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction  “The ability of a social or ecological system to absorb disturbances while retaining the same basic structure and ways of functioning, the capacity for self-organisation, and the capacity to adapt to stress and change” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  “The capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change” The Resilience Alliance
  5. 5.  Disaster Resilience is the ability of countries, communities and households to manage change, by maintaining or transforming living standards in the face of shocks or stresses - such as earthquakes, drought or violent conflict – without compromising their longterm prospects – defined by DFID as a working definition of Resilience, 2011
  6. 6.  Resilience is the ability of a system, community, or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate to, and recover from the effects of a hazard promptly and efficiently by preserving and restoring essential basic structures (UNISDR 2011b).  A resilient community is one that can absorb disturbances, change, reorganize, and still retain the same basic structures and provide the same Services (Resilience Alliance 2002).  As a concept, resilience can be applied to any community and any type of disturbance: natural, man-made, or a combination of the two. Disaster resilience can be seen as a public good that builds an appropriate amount of redundancy into urban systems and encourages communities to plan how to deal with disruptions.
  7. 7.  Infrastructural : Infrastructural resilience refers to a reduction in the vulnerability of built structures, such as buildings and transportation systems. It also refers to sheltering capacity, health care facilities, the vulnerability of buildings to hazards, critical infrastructure, and the availability of roads for evacuations and post-disaster supply lines. Infrastructural resilience also refers to a community’s capacity for response and recovery.  Institutional resilience refers to the systems, governmental and nongovernmental, that administer a community.
  8. 8.  Economic resilience refers to a community’s economic diversity in such areas as employment, number of businesses, and their ability to function after a disaster.  Social resilience refers to the demographic profile of a community by sex, age, ethnicity, disability, socioeconomic status, and other groupings, and the profile of its social capital. Although difficult to quantify, social capital refers to a sense of community, the ability of groups of citizens to adapt, and a sense of attachment to a place (Cutter, Burton, and Emrich 2010). Reference: Building Urban Resilience, World Bank, 2013
  9. 9.  ‘Resilience’ is generally seen as a broader concept than ‘capacity’ because it goes beyond the specific behavior, strategies and measures for risk reduction and management that are normally understood as capacities. However, it is difficult to separate the concepts clearly. In everyday usage, ‘capacity’ and ‘coping capacity’ often mean the same as ‘resilience’. Community resilience can be understood as:  capacity to absorb stress or destructive forces through resistance or adaptation  capacity to manage, or maintain certain basic functions and structures, during disastrous events  capacity to recover or ‘bounce back’ after an event Reference: Characteristics of a resilient community by John Twigg, 2007
  10. 10.  Resilience is the ability of a system, community, or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate, and recover from the effects of a hazard promptly and efficiently.  Residual risk and uncertainty have to be managed in a way that is both flexible and robust, using design solutions that build on investments in risk information, strategic communication, cross-sectoral coordination, and a well-planned response and recovery strategy.  The phases of disaster risk management—mitigation, preparedness, disaster, response, recovery, and reconstruction— each offer practical opportunities to enhance resilience.  Risk mitigation is part of the resilience approach. With the general aim of increasing preparedness and the capacity to respond to a disaster and swiftly recover from its impacts, resilience goes beyond mere mitigation.
  11. 11.  Risk can be reduced by reducing the exposure and vulnerability of people or assets that are linked to their geographical location, the structure of the built and natural environment, operational and institutional arrangements, and management of the fiscal impacts of natural hazards.  Social resilience is the capacity of individuals within a community or society to cope with and adapt to disturbances or changes.  Land use planning and ecosystem management are relatively low-cost “no-regrets” approaches to managing disaster risks effectively, especially for small and mediumsized urban centers that lack resources and capacity.
  12. 12.  The resilience of urban infrastructure and services is critically important for emergency response and the quick recovery of a community and its economy. The design of critical systems needs to take into account the possibility of failure through redundant and backup measures so that they can deal with failure in ways that are least damaging to the society.  Risk information provides a basis for prioritizing risk reduction measures. Sharing hazard and risk information with stakeholders is critical in managing the risks facing urban communities and sectors.  Creating an enabling environment for communities to participate and make decisions based on adequate risk information and tools fosters the collective resilience of an urban system
  13. 13. Characteristics of a Resilient Community
  14. 14. A safe and resilient community... As IFRC defines:  1. …is knowledgeable and healthy. It has the ability to assess, manage       and monitor its risks. It can learn new skills and build on past experiences 2. …is organised. It has the capacity to identify problems, establish priorities and act. 3. …is connected. It has relationships with external actors who provide a wider supportive environment, and supply goods and services when needed. 4. …has infrastructure and services. It has strong housing, transport, power, water and sanitation systems. It has the ability to maintain, repair and renovate them. 5. …has economic opportunities. It has a diverse range of employment opportunities, income and financial services. It is flexible, resourceful and has the capacity to accept uncertainty and respond (proactively) to change. 6. …can manage its natural assets. It recognises their value and has the ability to protect, enhance and maintain them.
  15. 15. Understanding Operational PERSPECTIVE
  16. 16. Indicators of Resilience
  17. 17. Regional Experience of Disaster Resilience
  18. 18. Reference: Approach to Resilience, DFID, 2011
  19. 19. The Zambezi Floodplain Management programme in Mozambique supports vulnerable communities to deal with persistent flooding of their farms. There has always been drought and flooding in this area, but in the last 10 years weather patterns have become more unpredictable. Instead of planting seeds in the main agricultural season in the lowlands, irrigation projects encourage farmers to plant in the highlands away from the floods. Alongside this, communities are helped to learn new skills which provide them with alternative sources of income. Communities decide on the kinds of livelihoods they want to develop and Save the Children provides training, technical support and funding to help them get started. Helping communities to grow crops all year and reduce their vulnerability to drought, whilst also diversifying livelihoods, increases their resilience to the effects of climate change.
  20. 20.  The Productive Safety Net Programme covers 7.8 million vulnerable people and has helped break the need for emergency food programmes by providing people with regular and predictable cash and food transfers. A new Risk Financing mechanism allows the Programme to expand in times of shock. This can for example increase the period of time over which an individual receives transfers (beyond the normal six months) or add more people to the programme. This mechanism is integral to protecting the asset base of households in times of shock and helps to prevent the programme from being diluted by beneficiaries sharing their transfers with non-participating households.
  21. 21. Way Forward
  22. 22.  Resilience need to be a combination of DRR, CCA, Social Protection & Safety net programs  It will need a regional approach as the characteristics of Resilience are beyond national context  This will strengthened the harmonization of different kinds of programs – especially between disaster risk reduction, social protection and climate change adaptation (DFID, 2011)
  23. 23. Factors influencing resilience, adopted from Towards Resilience by Marilise Turnbull, Charlotte L. Sterrett & Amy Hilleboe, 2012
  24. 24.  Defining Urban Resilience, World Bank, 2013  Towards Resilience by Marilise Turnbull, Charlotte L. Sterrett & Amy Hilleboe, 2012  Approach to Resilience, DFID, 2011  IFRC report on Safe and Resilient Community, 2011  A guide to Characteristics of Community Resilience, John Twigg, 2007  Elements of disaster resilience: lessons from Bangladesh, Practical Action, 2011  Building disaster resilient communities: good practices and lessons learned, UNISDR 2011