The extent or ability to bounce back to normalcy after a disruptive event is perhaps the simplest definition of Resilience.
Human society and all it entails is constantly subject to disruption, be it social, economic, structural, climatic, etc. These can be, to name a few, acts of nature, occurrences of wars, fires, political instability, and financial crisis. Different societies prepare for these onslaughts differently, given the resources available, political will, economic condition, etc.
Climate change and disasters, as a consequence of the former, or not, threaten human settlements in various ways and extents. The ability of community to withstand such events and revert to normalcy vary given their level of preparedness. Preparedness in turn varies according to ability, economic conditions, conditions of infrastructure, social structure, structural conditions and importantly political and collective will.
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) defines resilience as: In the context of disaster risk, the ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate, adapt to, transform, and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions through risk management.
Which is perhaps more relevant to the way this course will look at resilience.
This seminar course will examine the resilience of communities to disasters, particularly natural disasters. It will do so with an objective of finding ways to create resilience in communities that are apparently ‘weak’. Many communities in the world today are vulnerable to threats posed by natural and man-made disasters. In many cases there is not sufficient help from governments and organizations to create resilience. In such instances people must rely on their own strengths and abilities to create this resilience. The course will emphasize the ability of people to develop resilience with the skills and knowledge they possess with some support from technical inputs. The key being self-sufficiency in developing this resilience.