Over the past week, hundreds of experts, policy makers and practitioners attended major conferences on resilience – the ability of people, communities, nations and the global system to predict, prevent and bounce back from shocks.
A conference, in Montpellier, “explored multiple perspectives on social and ecological change and the multiple links between resilience thinking and development issues.” Another, held by the International Food Policy and Research Institute in Addis Ababa, focused on building resilience for food and nutrition security and was attended by Hunger Project Executive Vice President John Coonrod.
After returning from the conference, John contributed to the Local First blog with a post titled “Resilience: Entry Point for Transformation.” Local First is a development approach that looks first for the capacity within countries before bringing in external expertise and resources. Below is an excerpt from his post:
“The most provocative question at the conference was – is “resilience” really anything new? Does it really add value to development discourse, or is it simply the buzzword of the month?
The question, of course, is cynical but rests on the painful trackrecord of the development community’s failure to properly apply and sustain its focus on key concepts in the past.
The real question, however, is whether the advocates for the issues that are central to resilience will be effective enough advocates to mainstream the concept into policy and practice.
Resilience is different. It is not only a different way of thinking about policies and programs, but requires a different set of analytic skills to properly analyze, predict and plan for shocks.
Certainly the environmental and climate change activists are strong voices for applying a resilience lens. Nutrition advocates also have a lot to gain: like resilience, nutrition also can only be successfully addressed through a multisectoral approach that integrates food systems, the health system, water and sanitation and gender social norms.”
Photo: Local First logo