Resilience has become a commonly used narrative in a range of international development contexts. This foundational resource presents bite-size chunks of information and signposts to other material with a focus on disaster resilience, while also addressing climate and infrastructure resilience. It will help to answer the following questions:

  • How has resilience been defined and conceptualised by DFID and other organisations?
  • What is the history of the concept of resilience and why has it gained prominence?
  • What are the scales and dimensions of resilience?
  • How does resilience relate to risk and adaptation? What is risk layering?
  • What does resilience programming look like?

This resource is part of a series of inter-related resources synthesising knowledge on Resilience. It can be read in conjunction with the more detailed resources on Measuring Resilience, Risk Management and Financing and Social Protection and Climate Resilience. The Glossary and list of Acronyms will also assist readers in understanding the terminology used throughout this resource and the other resources in the Resilience series.


Sturgess, P.; Sparrey, R.; DFID. What is Resilience? Evidence on Demand, UK (2016) 65 pp. [DOI: 10.12774/eod_tg.may2016.sturgessandsparrey]

What is Resilience?

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