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Lost in Translation? Resilience ideas in science, policy and practice Katrina Brown University of East Anglia.

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Presentation on theme: "Lost in Translation? Resilience ideas in science, policy and practice Katrina Brown University of East Anglia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lost in Translation? Resilience ideas in science, policy and practice Katrina Brown University of East Anglia


3 Key argument Resilience is a term in common usage, it has specific meanings in different scientific fields - important common features Resilience ideas are not easily translated from scientific to either social nor policy realm Resilience slogans are being used to promote ‘business as usual’ and stability - its dynamic sense is lost in translation Could resilience be used to support more radical responses to environmental change?

4 Resilience in different disciplines the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change so as to still retain essentially the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks The RA website glossary at the process of, capacity for, or outcome of successful adaptation despite challenging or threatening circumstances Rutter, 2004 a multi-dimensional construct …the capacity of individuals, families, communities, systems and institutions to respond, withstand and/or judiciously engage with catastrophic events and experiences; actively making meaning without fundamental loss of identity African Health Services editorial December 2008

5 A Resilience approach Expect change, manage for change Expect the unexpected – uncertainty and surprise Different types of change; slow and fast variables; feedbacks Interactions between multiple stressors Thresholds – ecological and social Distinguish between coping and adapting – and tranforming? Crises as providing windows of opportunity - for beneficial and detrimental change Cross scale issues – panarchy, polycentric institutions; individual, family and community

6 Interrogating Resilience Resilience as a normative goal Resilience of what, for what? Winners and losers Multiple meanings of Resilience Narratives and contestations Resilience and climate change adaptation How is current adaptation affecting Resilience? - Temporal, spatial, social differences and trade-offs - Options for transformability

7 Current Policy

8 10 policy statements on Resilience 1. UNDP Human Development Report 2007/8 2. World Bank World Development Report 2009 3. UN Commission on Climate Change and Development 2009 4. World Bank Pilot Program on Climate Resilience 5. WRI: Roots of Resilience 2008 6. DFID White Paper 2009 7. IPPR: National Security Strategy 8. Community and Regional Resilience Initiative: ResilientUS 9. US Indian Ocean Tsumani Warning System Program 10. Christian Aid Building Disaster Resilient Communities Project

9 Analysing discourses 1. Basic entities whose existence is recognised or constructed- this ontology of the discourse e.g. ecosystems, humans, or Social Ecological System 2. Assumptions about natural relationships e.g. how humans and ecosystems are linked, what affects Resilience and how it is defined 3. Agents and their motives – who or what are the key actors in shaping Resilience 4. Key metaphors and other rhetorical devices +Policy prescriptions and normative assertions

10 Three discourses Optimist - nurturing resilience, scaling up, markets and Payments for Ecosystem Services Pessimist 1 - Disaster Risk Reduction and externally derived risks; strengthening ability to withstand shocks Pessimist 2 – social vulnerability and social differentiation; poverty alleviation

11 Lost in Translation… Limited mention of Social Ecological System WRI Thresholds (WRI), feedbacks - absent Connections and networks (IPPR, ‘adaptive networks’ WRI) Transformative change – WB PPCR Adaptive management Disaster Risk Reduction Multiple conflicting discourses – WB, WRI

12 A focus on stability and passive adaptation “increased resilience results in ecosystem stability, social cohesion and adaptability, economic enterprise’ (WRI, 2008: 6) to accommodate environmental and social change the ability to withstand the impact of shocks and crisis’

13 Business as usual? “In the climate debate, improving resilience against impacts is of course known as ‘adaptation’ – but too easily this suggests that it is somehow separate from development. It isn’t. Adaptation simply means development under the conditions of a changing climate.” Douglas Alexander, 6 th February 2008 “Adaptation is fundamentally about sound, resilient development” “climate-proofing development” “climate smart cities” World Bank, Climate Resilient Development in Africa, 2009

14 Climate Resilient Development Mainstreaming adaptation a core component of development Knowledge and capacity development forecasting, disaster preparedness Mitigation opportunities through access to carbon finance Scaling up financing Making growth resilient to climate change

15 Resilient development? Approaches which prioritise resilience and human security Economy: minimise social and environmental costs / growth Environment: dynamic multi-equilibria / stable equilibrium Institutions: poly-centric governance / managerialism and technocratic approaches Poverty and well-being: new measures / economic measures Agriculture: risk minimisation / yield maximisation

16 The dark side of Resilience? As part of a dominant modernist and technocratic development A colonising scientific model of environmental management? Resisting Resilience Power, knowledge, justice and self-determination Resilience and transformation

17 Lost in Translation? Resilience ideas in science, policy and practice Katrina Brown University of East Anglia

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