Resilience is the new buzzword in aid circles. The concept rose to prominence in 2011 following the publication of the Humanitarian Emergency Response Review, and it has since been strongly promoted by DfID. Indeed, many NGOs have incorporated the term into all areas of their operations, including in job descriptions and programme objectives.
However, it is difficult to arrive at a common understanding of the term, as it has been applied to a myriad of fields ranging from ecology and psychology to security and disaster risk management. Some observe that resilience has the potential to push humanitarian action towards development objectives.
A number of questions remain to be answered, such as: What is actually meant by resilience? Does the concept add value, or is it a repackaging of old ideas? Can resilience be an objective in humanitarian aid, or do humanitarian actors risk compromising their principles by taking up the concept?
In this event MSF hoped to bring together operational and academic perspectives to explore some of these aspects of resilience and its impact on the humanitarian aid sector.