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Remaking the case for linking relief, rehabilitation and development

Research report

Written by Simon Levine, Irina Mosel

Research report

‘Resilience’ is supposed to offer us a new way of thinking about development assistance. The concept focuses aid efforts on the people who most frequently suffer from crisis or who have the most limited choices in their lives. Resilience makes the overriding goal that people can cope better for themselves whatever the future may bring, and that they have more freedoms and choices in their lives. Much of the theorising around resilience, however, suggests that it depends on things like good governance, a wide range of economic opportunities and cohesive societies. But these are so far out of reach for people who live in difficult places – places that suffer from protracted or recurrent crisis, conflicts or political fragility – that it would seem that resilience is of no use at all to them or for those who want to help them.

Resilience is also supposed to offer a way of bringing together humanitarian and development assistance in these difficult places where long term engagement and crisis response so frequently overlap. But ‘linking relief and development’ or LRRD has been an idea that has been spoken about for more than 20 years and little has changed as a result.  Are we to conclude that the fuss about resilience is nothing more than froth, or is there really something useful that can be done about supporting resilience and bringing together long and short term perspectives, even in the most difficult places?

The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports projects in difficult places particularly through its approach of ‘transitional development assistance’, and it made resilience a main plank of its strategy. HPG was asked to give some thought to how far resilience and LRRD could be made practically useful ideas. These two companion papers are the results of that analysis.

Remaking the case for linking relief, rehabilitation and development and Supporting resilience in difficult places were commissioned by GIZ for BMZ.

What the client said:   'two excellent papers…. a large number of interesting ideas ….will inform our work tremendously'.
Irina Mosel and Simon Levine