Resilient risk governance: experience from the Sahel and Horn of Africa

Research reports and studies
November 2016
Elizabeth Carabine, Sabrina Chesterman and Emily Wilkinson
Gum Arabic (farmers) at Hilat Ismaiel, North Kordofan. Photo: Salahaldeen Nadir / World Bank

Resilience programmes often aim to provide services that help build assets and minimise the impact of shocks and stresses on people’s lives and livelihoods. But little is known about the way local risk governance systems and institutional arrangements mediate people’s access to these services and therefore lead to improved resilience.

Key messages

  • Evidence related to how ecosystem, financial and climate services can strengthen resilience at the local level is growing in the Sahel and Horn of Africa. There is less evidence regarding the importance of governance systems in mediating access to these assets.
  • Institutional arrangements have implications for the delivery of services and how people access them. 
  • Ecosystem services are often delivered at the local level and governed by complex institutional arrangements. Actors, including governments, non-governmental organisations and community-based organisations, often overlap.
  • In many cases, national governments deliver climate services, often bypassing local governance structures. Therefore, while access to and use and application of weather and climate information and services in Africa and elsewhere are increasing, end-users continue to face challenges in receiving and applying these services.
  • The formal financial sector is largely absent. Financial services are more often provided informally through women's savings groups or reciprocity within social networks. Increasingly, non-governmental organisations and private sector actors are delivering financial services in places that are vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events.
  • This report offers a conceptual framework for resilient risk governance and a way forward for researchers and practitioners to build a greater body of evidence on its role in delivering resilience outcomes.

This paper is now available in French.