WHD 2013

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Resilience in Simple Terms / La Résilience en Termes Simples

World Food Programme and resilience building in the Sahel

 By Corinne Stephenson, Communication Officer in WFP, Regional Office

Resilience is a multi-faceted, long-term objective that includes access to basic services (education, health, water and sanitation), food and nutrition security, improved livelihood base and productive safety nets.  Resilience can only be achieved with leadership of the governments, ownership by the communities affected and in partnership with all UN actors, donors and non-governmental organizations.   

WFP’s presence in vulnerable areas, its understanding of vulnerability, focus on community participation and support to education – particularly that of girls – makes the organization a key player in the resilience agenda.  We can inform policy-making by governments, work with communities through food- and cash-for-work to build durable assets (improve land and water conservation, for example) and work with partners to give the projects the technical rigor necessary to have a lasting effect on the lives and livelihoods of people we serve. 

Resilience Niger- CREDIT: Rein Skullerud

What are the principles for action to build resilience? Read more

Resilience-building activities undertaken by Governments, civil society, agencies and partners should be centered on the following key principles, and anchor themselves within policies aimed at promoting better governance, decentralization, community-level resilience and local development:

1.    Start and end at the local level: Resilience building in the Sahel should reflect local knowledge and promote community participation, ownership and empowerment in the design and implementations of programs.

2.    Place resilience at the center of programming: Resilience is not simply a re-labeling of existing activities. While many initiatives may reduce vulnerabilities indirectly, resilience strengthening should target households directly.

3.    Build within and upon countries’ policy planning frameworks: National leadership, ownership and accountability are key. Resilience should be firmly grounded in existing strategies, policies, and plans at the local, national, and regional levels.

4.    Focus on risk and uncertainty: Risk and vulnerability analysis and management should inform the design of all resilience activities and programs.

5.    Business as usual is not sufficient to tackle this challenge: Humanitarian and development organizations must work together to address the issues of resilience.

6.    A human rights based approach should drive the resilience building approach, ensuring that it is participatory, and non-discriminatory.

7.    Recognize that resilience is a long-term development objective: There will be a need for integrated multi-year programming of humanitarian and development assistance.

8.    Long term engagement can be achieved through active participation in global, regional and local partnership initiatives: UN agencies are well positioned to contribute meaningfully to such initiatives having both the ability to work downstream on household related initiatives and upstream on institutional and policy level development. A well-supported Resident and Humanitarian Coordination system with a coherent and impact oriented development programme for resilience is a prerequisite for success.

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