Why is this important?
Resilience is the ability of an individual, a household, a community, a country or a region to resist, adapt, and quickly recover from a disaster or crisis such as drought, violence, conflict or natural disaster. Strengthening the resilience of populations can help greatly reduce the impacts of recurrent natural and man-made disasters, affecting millions every year. Developing countries register 97% of natural disaster-related deaths and the highest losses in terms of living conditions.
Large scale emergencies have occurred every year over the past decade, from the Darfur conflict which started in 2003 to the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and China in 2010, the Horn of Africa food crisis in 2011, the food security emergency in the Sahel region of Africa in 2012, the Philippines typhoon and the current turmoil in Syria.
How are we helping?
Increasing resilience in developing countries is an important objective to the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO). The new resilience approachoutlines a strategy to increase resilience of the world's most vulnerable people. National resilience strategies, disaster management plans and efficient prevention systems for vulnerable countries are put at the heart of this policy so developing countries are in control.
Furthermore, joint development of innovative approaches to risk management with the insurance industry also forms an important part of this new strategy. Seasonal safety nets is one example of a resilience strategy which involves cash transfers, either unconditionally, or in exchange for work or training, to the most vulnerable people when their reserves of money and food are lowest.
Finally, a resilience marker has been newly introduced into ECHO'S project cycle to further support the quality of ECHO-funded projects and their contribution to building the resilience of the most vulnerable. The Marker is a tool to assess to what extent humanitarian actions funded by ECHO integrate resilience considerations.
A key example of how the approach is underpinned is shown by the results of the ECHO's initiatives to build resilience in in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, namely AGIR and SHARE respectively. Their aim is to break the vicious cycle of drought, hunger and poverty by identifying collaboration opportunities, and increasing coordination between humanitarian and development assistance.