Saturday, September 13, 2014

Resilience goes mainstream

Rolf Rosenkranz in Devex: Resilience has been an international development buzzword for years. This week’s 2nd World Reconstruction Conference in Washington suggests that it’s more than a fad: Resiliency programs have gone mainstream around the globe.

Two documents released on the fringes of the conference, which is hosted by the Word Bank and ends Friday, underscore that notion: The disaster recovery framework and post-disaster needs assessment guide are both meant to increase the ability of communities to prevent and, if necessary, weather environmental and man-made shocks.

Nancy Lindborg, the assistant administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, drove that point home during a panel discussion I moderated on Thursday: The concept of resilience, she said, allows the international community to “layer” humanitarian and development action into a “complete package.” It’s a way to synthesize multifaceted goals into one word that’s easy to rally around — a pathway to shared goals.

And many governments — as well as aid organizations — are doing just that. On the panel I moderated, for instance, Jorge Melendez, El Salvador’s secretary for vulnerability issues, spoke of efforts to incorporate risk reduction and prevention into the country’s development strategy.

“Vulnerabilities need to be identified in order to be able to reduce the associated risk and undertake mitigation measures,” he said in prepared remarks. “Investing in the resilience of infrastructure and communities is more effective. Action needs to take place before the disaster strikes; this means investing in sound development to reduce the consequences of a disaster.”

His conclusion: “We are resilient if there is development. Development, in turn, should generate resilience.” ...

A Sim City screen, shot by Xardox, Wikimedia Commons, public domain

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