standard Upcoming Seminar in IHRR – Resilience for the people… but where are the people?

3rd November 2014, 13:00 to 14:30, W007, Dept of Geography, Dr Bernard Manyena, Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute

Resilience has emerged not only as a central concept in academic debates, but also one of the constitutive elements of policy and institutional practice. The interest in resilience has emerged very much in the shadow of vulnerability, climate change adaptation, and questions about the sustainability of humanitarian response.

Despite this increasing focus on resilience, which, arguably, promises to shift the primary responsibility for risk away from the state and onto local communities, there has been much less focus on the ‘local’ communities themselves. While we contend that resilience has been introduced for wrong reasons to meaningfully enhance the capacity of communities to deal with disturbances, it does not necessarily diminish its importance. Lack of tools to guide the operationalization of resilience has been one of the major obstacles.

To this end, we suggest a framework to guide resilience-informed policy and programme designs by focusing on the context, the nature of risk, community capacities to deal with the risk, the principles and resilience outcomes. We, however, contend that the operationalisation of the framework should be supported by a clear contextual definition of capacities and their measurements, underpinned by a focus on vulnerable communities.


Bernard’s research interests are in the disaster resilience, humanitarianism and sustainable development connections. He is a widely cited author on the concept of resilience especially in relation to disaster recovery. His interests emanate from his wide experience in rural development within the developing world context, particularly in Africa and Asia covering countries like Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Mozambique, East Timor and Sri Lanka.

Chair: Professor Lena Dominelli (

Please notify the Chair if you would like to meet the speaker.

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