Current Salience in Development Cooperation
In recent years, several donors and development agencies have embraced resilience as a concept and now support resilience-building initiatives and projects. The Green Climate Fund (GCF), the World Bank (with its Pilot Program for Climate Resilience PPCR) are some of the organisations that support resilience actions. Furthermore, major international NGOs and alliances have incorporated resilience into their programmes. Various governments are increasing their budget allocations to resilience programmes such as the Drought Disaster Resilience Sustainability Initiative in Africa.
Currently, the concept of resilience is being applied in disaster risk management, climate-change adaptation, conflict prevention and natural resource management. Its influence is also expanding to other thematic areas such as health, education, social protection, food security, conflict and fragility, gender and agriculture.
Entry points to resilience from different thematic areas
The concept of resilience with its three capacities offers multiple entry points and linkages to a broad range of thematic areas including the five working areas of Helvetas. To give a few examples:
Sustainable management of natural resources ensuring the provision of ecosystem services, better provision of water services, improved incomes and financial inclusion of communities and disadvantaged groups increase the absorptive capacities of systems; so do diversified vocational skills of people and efforts to make governments more accountable. The adaptive capacities of systems are enhanced by introducing more drought tolerant crops and other changes of farming practices to adapt to the effects of climate change, more efficient water use or innovations in production. Changes in livelihood strategies, building up entirely new skills sets, migration and the introduction of new technologies support transformations of systems. Empowering people as citizens to effectively participate in decision-making, increasing the voice of stakeholders and re-negotiating rights of disadvantaged people and communities to resources equally has transformative effects.
Resilience, sustainable development and the SDGs
Sustainable development and resilience are complementary concepts. Given the current global changes (e.g. urbanisation, climate change) a development strategy is not sustainable if it is not resilient. Thus, resilience can be considered a pre-condition for sustainable development. By understanding how a system can use and combine its three types of resilience capacities, communities are more likely to achieve the desirable goal of sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of 17 goals, targets and indicators that all UN member states use to frame their agendas and policies to end poverty – aim “to shift the world on to a sustainable and resilient path”. Resilience has been explicitly included in the following six goals and implicitly in additional goals and targets: