Clarvis, Bohensky & Yarime: Can Resilience Thinking Inform Resilience Investments? Learning from Resilience Principles for Disaster Risk Reduction

Abstract:

As the human and financial costs of natural disasters rise and state finances continue to deplete, increasing attention is being placed on the role of the private sector to support disaster and climate resilience. However, not only is there a recognised lack of private finance to fill this gap, but international institutional and financing bodies tend to prioritise specific reactive response over preparedness and general resilience building. This paper utilises the central tenets of resilience thinking that have emerged from scholarship on social-ecological system resilience as a lens through which to assess investing in disaster risk reduction (DRR) for resilience. It draws on an established framework of resilience principles and examples of resilience investments to explore how resilience principles can actually inform decisions around DRR and resilience investing. It proposes some key lessons for diversifying sources of finance in order to, in turn, enhance “financial resilience”. In doing so, it suggests a series of questions to align investments with resilience building, and to better balance the achievement of the resilience principles with financial requirements such as financial diversification and replicability. It argues for a critical look to be taken at how resilience principles, which focus on longer-term systems perspectives, could complement the focus in DRR on critical and immediate stresses.

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