The term ‘resilience’ is increasingly used in the context of discussion, policies and programming around climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR). It has become particularly popular to describe the intersection between these two fields and those of poverty and development as ‘climate resilient development’, and ‘climate resilient development’ is rapidly becoming a catch-all for tackling climate change impacts in a development context’. However, despite this growth in popularity, there has been little attempt to scrutinise the literature to examine how it might underpin an operational approach to resilience. This working paper reviews academic conceptualisation of the concept of ‘resilience’ in social, ecological and socio-ecological systems, comprising 16 overlapping conceptualisations of resilience from the literature, outlining key characteristics and indicators of resilience. The key findings were: 1- The idea of resilience is employed in diverse fields including psychology, structural engineering and corporate strategy but in the social sciences it is primarily discussed in the context of society and ecology; 2- The relationship between vulnerability and resilience is contested, but most commonly one is seen as the opposite of the other; i.e. high resilience in a community means that it is less vulnerable and vice versa; 3- Similarly, there is a lack of consensus on the relationship between adaptive capacity and resilience. Adaptive capacity is sometimes seen as the ‘ability to be resilient’ and at other times it refers to ‘learning’ in response to disturbance in systems; 4- In working towards an operational definition of resilience, we define the ten maincharacteristics of resilient systems. These are intended to provide a starting point for those working to operationalise the resilience concept in the context of climate change and disasters.
Bahadur, A.V.; Ibrahim, M.; Tanner, T. The resilience renaissance? Unpacking of resilience for tackling climate change and disasters, SCR Discussion Paper 1. (2010) : 45 pp. [SCR Discussion Paper 1]