Humanitarian agencies · public policy · sustainable development · Uncategorized

Rethinking Resilience for Sustainable Development in a Changing World

As we have come to the realization that the world we live in today, is very different from the world of 200 years ago and even 70 years ago. Our current world works differently, and not just about the biological and physical aspects, such as change in climate and forest cover, but also socially, politically and economically.

New patterns are emerging globally, such as rising inequalities, marginalization, poverty and environmental degradation. Acknowledging that we have changed the way systems work in our world, surely means we have to change the way we think about future development, frameworks and strategies also.

CIDSE- a new paradigm

Rethinking resilience is about how to navigate the journey of development in relation to many paths, and thresholds and tipping points between them. Sometimes these pathways may be deep and difficult to change, such as poverty traps, climate change. In other cases, a small change may lead to the emergence of something new.

For instance, the dominant view for food security is about maximizing the production of calories from soil to mouth. However, further research, shows that food security is more than just food production and access; it’s a co-evolved interplay of human preferences, diversity of food sources, strong social cultural ties to landscape and food varieties, food prices, climate change and global economic dynamics.


Therefore, resilience is really about the capacity to live with change. Whether it’s incremental or abrupt, and continue to develop. Not about doing what you’ve done before in location A and replicating it in location B.

It’s really being able to flow with change, to take up opportunities with changing conditions, and having the capacity to change. It is about accepting complexity, uncertainty and surprises.

Resilience infographics

Where people and planet are interacting in completely new ways, from the local to the global. Where shocks are appearing in new ways, not just one by one. Where climate issues are connected to food production or connected to financial markets. It’s a new type of dynamic. And, especially resilience is extremely useful when we are dealing with both rapid and gradual change at the same time.

What this means is that resilience is not a standalone pillar of our work, but that it changes the way we do our work as actors for sustainable development.


Thank you so much for your time and attention

Efe Majoroh.


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