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resilience and development
Addressing poverty and inequality, and advancing human well-being remains a major ambition and challenge for the 21st century, but it now needs to take into account that development needs to happen in the context of the Anthropocene – an increasingly complex, dynamic and hyper-connected world characterised by accelerating changes and growing human pressures on resources.
The Anthropocene changes how we must think about our world and the planet we live on. It has profound implications for development.
By promoting an approach to sustainable development that considers the Anthropocene’s complexity, turbulence and speed, GRAID brings the worlds of social-ecological resilience research and development practice together to explore these implications and their solutions.
Funded by Sweden’s International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), GRAID’s efforts focus on further developing knowledge on resilience and its application in the international development arenas
GRAID collaborates with two satellite hubs based in South Africa: Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Complex Systems in Transition (CST), and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)’s Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Research Group.
GRAID also leverages Stockholm Resilience Centre’s networks, working with the Resilience Alliance, the Future Earth, Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), the Australian Resilience Centre, CSIRO in Australia and many others.
To meet GRAID’s objectives, expertise on priority topics and regions is necessary. In 2016, a vast recruitment process took place. It was highly competitive and attracted hundreds of qualified candidates worldwide. GRAID now welcomes several new experts, from a variety of disciplines, regions and backgrounds, who will help build the evidence, insights and capacities for GRAID. The year got off to a great start with a workshop in Sigtuna, Sweden, which brought together GRP’s executive team and key GRAID personnel to determine how to best support the GRP as a knowledge partner. This workshop produced a list of collaborative activities, ranging from communications products, a resilience toolkit and an evolving evidence base, instrumental for supporting the GRP.
The GRAID communications team has also been busy co-designing a series of insightful policy briefs, called Talking Points, on key resilience topics identified by the GRP. The first was released in time for the World Humanitarian Summit, and explored the emerging role of resilience for development in the Anthropocene (pdf, 1.9 MB). It highlighted three priority contributions from resilience: 1) approaches that account for the complex interplay of the social dimension and the biosphere; 2) knowledge on the cross-scale forces shaping development interventions and their outcomes at local scales; and 3) capacities to transform and actively shape change and thrive from change.
These priorities are shaping the GRAID programme as it moves ahead to synthesis insights, approaches and evidence from ongoing work in these areas. Responding to the need for moving from a largely theoretical basis to applying resilience thinking in practice in development, GRAID is working to review, pilot and evolve resilience approaches, tools and capacities together with the GRP and partners.
In 2016 GRAID, together with CSIRO colleagues and local partners, tested the recently developed Resilience, Adaptation Pathways and Transformation Assessment (RAPTA) guideline in Ethiopia, from national to community scales. Using lessons learned from this work, GRAID now moves ahead with GRP to host a number of resilience dialogues with practitioners in 2017 to share lessons and experiences of applying resilience in practice, as well as supporting the selection and advancement of approaches for use in development.
The new web magazine Rethink (rethink.earth) was launched in January 2017. Rethink stands for resilience thinking for global development, and the website will be a flagship communications product from the GRAID programme. It will tell compelling stories about complex global challenges based on the best research. Rethink is for practitioners, researchers, journalists and others interested in resilience principles and how they unfold around the world. The editorial team is made up of Naomi Lubick, Owen Gaffney (pictured right) and Marika Haeggman (left).
South African partners began work on bringing leading thinkers and practitioners together to discuss how resilience is being used across diverse organisations and contexts in southern Africa, as well as barriers and opportunities in adopting a resilience approach. Work also began in partnering with the City of Durban, as well as new partners in Mozambique, to bring insights and findings from resilience research into planning instruments for use in rapidly urbanising contexts.