Resilience and humanitarian action

April 2011 to March 2013

Resilience and resilient livelihoods are becoming a focus of humanitarian and development agencies seeking to address the underlying fragilities that turn shocks and stresses into humanitarian crises. It is not clear what makes people resilient in protracted crises and how resilience can be ‘built’

Many assistance programmes designed to build the material assets of households and communities also claim to be building resilience. However, resilience goes well beyond possession of material assets, and depends on the interplay of factors including access to power structures, social organisation, governance and the nature and role of institutions in a society. Previous HPG research on humanitarian assistance and livelihoods has shown that the importance of the non-material aspects of livelihoods is underestimated, especially by humanitarian actors.

There is also little evidence about the actual impact that humanitarian assistance has – whether from different interventions themselves or more indirectly from the presence and the ways of working of external agencies.

HPG has become involved with several agencies on their thinking on resilience and the project will specifically look at resilience framework as well as conceptual analysis of resilience and structural factors that constrain people's actions and choices. The project will also analyse the impact of the drive to include resilience-building in reconstruction in three crises, Aceh, Myanmar and Haiti


Assessing resilience: why quantification misses the point

Working and discussion papers | July 2014 | Simon Levine
The recent buzz around 'resilience' has created a similarly urgent push to quantify and measure its impact. But can we really quantify resilience? This paper critically examines efforts to measure resilience and proposes a different way forward.

Remaking the case for linking relief, rehabilitation and development

Research reports and studies | April 2014 | Irina Mosel and Simon Levine
Remaking the case for linking relief, rehabilitation and development and its companion paper Supporting resilience in difficult places were commissioned by GIZ for BMZ. What the client said: 'two excellent papers…. a large number of interesting ideas ….will...

Supporting resilience in difficult places

Research reports and studies | April 2014 | Simon Levine and Irina Mosel
Supporting resilience in difficult places and its companion paper Remaking the case for linking relief, rehabilitation and development were commissioned by GIZ for BMZ. What the client said: 'two excellent papers…. a large number of interesting ideas ….will...

Finally, things have got interesting!

Comment | 4 March 2014 | Simon Levine
'Name-calling aside, both sides are to be congratulated for getting the debate onto something much more serious than, for example, formulae for quantifying resilience-capacity-building. And without wanting to spoil the fun of disagreement, there is much truth in...
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Bringing climate change aid into the real world?

Public event | 3 March 2014 14:00 - 15:30 GMT+00
​Come along on 3rd of March 2013 to hear different perspectives on the challenge of supporting resilience to climate change in ways that are politically smart. Why has it proved so hard to be both technically objective and at the same...

10 things not to do with climate aid

Comment | 25 February 2014 | Katie Peters and Simon Levine
'It’s clear by now that we need to do something about climate change. John Kerry, the US Secretary of State (speaking in Indonesia) and UK opposition leader Ed Miliband (speaking about floods in the UK) are just some of the most recent champions for urgent action...
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Disaster as opportunity? Building back better in Aceh, Myanmar and Haiti

Research reports and studies | November 2013 | Lilianne Fan
After disasters strike, can homes, communities, and institutions be ‘built back better’? Released nearly nine years after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, this report examines the concept of ‘build back better’,...

InterAction Forum 2013

Conference | 28 April - 1 May 2013

The annual InterAction Forum seeks to provide a space for the leadership of NGOs, governments, philanthropy, corporations and civil society to engage and forge common solutions to improve the lives of the world’s poor and marginalized. Simon Levine spoke on a...

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The relevance of ‘resilience’?

Briefing papers | September 2012 | Simon Levine, Adam Pain, Sarah Bailey and Lilianne Fan
This paper aims to introduce some practical realism to the current debates about ‘resilience’ which are increasingly dominating thinking about development, climate change adaptation and humanitarian aid.