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World Disasters Report 2016. Resilience: saving lives today, investing for tomorrow

The World Disasters Report, themed ‘Resilience: saving lives today, investing for tomorrow,’ was issued by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It identifies the need to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable and at-risk communities by investing in resilience in order to save lives and money. 

There are many definitions and understandings of resilience and some argue that this is a weakness. However, this is to ignore the strength of diversity. There is a good enough understanding of resilience as a concept to convene a whole range of actors, from individuals and communities, to politicians and the private sector. Moreover, resilience can help link emergency response and development. At policy level, resilience is now formally recognized and included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction – it is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Looking ahead to 2025 and beyond, there are at least three steps that should be taken to enable a more resilient future:

  • acknowledge a shared understanding of resilience,
  • adopt a systematic approach to operationalize resilience, and
  • improve our ability to understand disasters.

The solutions are not all technical or top-down and resilience is often found in the relationships that govern people’s everyday lives. In many cases individuals and communities have already developed some of these capacities. Humanitarian actors can support local resilience efforts directly by engaging with existing initiatives driven by citizens, civil society, communities and local governments.