Four Components of Resilience

Excerpt from The Resilience Renaissance

  1. Resilience thinking requires an acknowledgement of the fact that systems must learn to live with uncertainty and that change is inevitable. ‘“Expecting the unexpected” is an oxymoron, but it means having the tools and the codes of conduct to fall back on when an unexpected event happens’; these tools and codes can spring from memories held by societies of similar events in the past.
  2. Diversity is important to building resilience as it extends multiple options for dealing with perturbations, reducing risks by spreading them. This diversity can be nurtured ecologically through high biodiversity, both economically through livelihood diversification and through the inclusion of diverse points of view in policymaking processes.
  3. To build resilience, different types of knowledge should be appropriated in any learning process. This can be done through the appropriation of local knowledge in policy processes; ‘the creation of platforms for cross-scale dialogue, allowing each partner to bring their expertise to the table, is a particularly effective strategy for bridging scales to stimulate learning and innovation’.
  4. As renewal and reorganisation are essential parts of natural cycles, the ability of systems to reorganise is a critical determinant of their resilience. This is possible through strengthening community-based management and ‘maintaining the local capacity for social and political organization in the face of disasters. Response by the community itself, through its own institutions, is key to effective response and adaptation’. Also, building linkages across scales of governance is another component of giving communities the ability to self-organise; community organisations need to work with regional and national organisations. ‘The creation of governance systems with multilevel partnerships is a fundamental shift from the usual top-down approach to management’.

Lastly, … a dynamic learning component is crucial for providing a rapid ability to innovate in terms of the capacity to create new responses or arrangements. Such learning can be improved by adaptive co-management, defined as a process by which institutional arrangements and environmental knowledge are tested and revised in a dynamic, ongoing, selforganized process of learning-by-doing. Learning organizations allow for errors and risk-taking behaviour as part of the learning process.

Summary of Four components of resilience from Understanding Uncertainty and Reducing Vulnerability: Lessons from Resilience Thinking (Berkes 2007)

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One Comment on “Four Components of Resilience”

  1. riskviews Says:

    Resilience for both physical and social systems can be further defined as consisting of the following properties:
    • Robustness: strength, or the ability of elements, systems, and other measures of analysis to withstand a given level of stress or demand without suffering degradation or loss of function;
    • Redundancy: the extent to which elements, systems, or other measures of analysis exist that are substitutable, i.e., capable of satisfying functional requirements in the event of disruption, degradation, or loss of functionality;
    • Resourcefulness: the capacity to identify problems, establish priorities, and mobilize resources when conditions exist that threatens to disrupt some element, system, or other measures of analysis. Resourcefulness can be further conceptualized as consisting of the ability to apply material (i.e., monetary, physical, technological, and informational) and human resources in the process of recovery to meet established priorities and achieve goals;
    • Rapidity: the capacity to meet priorities and achieve goals in a timely manner in order to contain losses, recover functionality and avoid future disruption

    Excerpt from Overview of the Resilience Concept
    Michel Bruneau and Andrei Reinhorn

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