Assessing resilience: why quantification misses the point

Working and discussion papers
July 2014

In recent years, 'resilience' has been used to encompass a vast range of issues, from sustainable development and food security, to adaptation to climate change and the need to give greater priority to addressing vulnerability.

This wide appeal has within it the seeds of confusion - how to combine such varied interests, and how to assess its impact? This has given rise to a drive to measure and quantify resilience with an array of indicators and calculations. 

But can resilience be measured in such a way?

This paper critically examines current approaches to developing a measure for resilience. It then proposes a different way forward by showing how the demand for assessing resilience and vulnerability can be met in a variety of ways - all better than the current quest to find the perfect, and impossible, resilience index.