Advancing Resilience Knowledge: A Success Story in Coalition

A success story made possible through a joint effort between resilience practitioners, policy makers and researchers in the Global South, as written by independent Evaluator Sarah Robens.

The Resilience Knowledge Coalition (the coalition) grew from consultation about knowledge brokering with GRP partners (including civil society, business, government, donors, academia) and associated networks. What was clear was that whilst there is a lot of knowledge around learning and networks sharing knowledge, that knowledge is not always translated into practice. There was an identified need to consider the gap between knowledge and practice, and to facilitate action to better secure resilient futures through the implementation of existing knowledge.

What was also uncovered was the real need to surface and put into practice learning specifically from the Global South, identifying grassroots practice, what works and what doesn’t, amplifying Southern voices and giving space for building them into practical action. The decision was therefore made to create a “network of networks” with a focus on surfacing learning from the Global South, taking a practical “learning by doing approach” to facilitate a two-way flow of information to feed grassroots experience and practice into research, policy and investment approaches, and vice versa. The Coalition has a strong Global South lead, with ICCCAD and CDKN as co-leads.

The Coalition was created out of the Research, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Community of Practice (RMEL CoP), which had 250 members who were considering how to reinvent themselves, in need of a new area of focus. The issue of learning into practice was clearly emerging from the group, and the intention was therefore set to build on the strengths of the existing CoP to focus on resilience knowledge into action. The Coalition was then born at Gobeshona in January 2021.

With the strong focus on ensuring the identification and lead of Southern expertise, the Coalition contains checks and balances to ensure that Global South involvement is central to all activity. There are also activities developed to ensure involvement of Global South expertise, including the Global South Talent Pool, Catalytic Grants and the Global South Expert Pool.

The Global South Talent Pool has seen the recruitment of interns from the majority world to work on a range of GRP and partner project activities. Catalytic Grants have been granted to conference attendees from Gobeshona and CBA 2021 in order to create opportunity for interaction post-event and to help to mobilize collaborative and trans-disciplinary teams of academics and non-academics from Least Developed Countries and Global South to work on ideas between events. Lastly, the Global South Expert pool will bring together Southern expertise to be contracted into projects as needed by Coalition members.

The Coalition is made up of individual members, not organizations, which has meant that people have been able to get involved as and when they can, not being reliant on organizational engagement. This means that these individuals are also being linked into the Race to Resilience, with the Coalition acting as one of the Race’s Transformation Champions to be announced at COP 26. The Coalition will support Regional Resilience Hubs at COP 26, allowing for wider Southern engagement in the process. This role in relation to the Race to Resilience is therefore bringing a strong focus on Southern involvement as well as the importance of knowledge brokering to the fore of conversations around resilience on a global platform. The members also have access to a Resilience Platform, as well as the range of events being held by the Coalition.

As a partnership organization, GRP has had the opportunity to co-create the Coalition with input from partners, linking with a wide range of actors, bringing people together and adding value to what they are already doing. As a non-participant actor, GRP can consult, review, bring people together and put in place additional Coalition activities to add value and increase positive outcomes. The Coalition also gives the other programs of the Global Resilience Partnership access to individuals and mechanisms for easily accessing input from the Global South, with other elements of GRP such as the Leadership Academy, the South-to-South Resilience Academy and the Investment Forum all engaging with the Coalition to work closely with individual members.

The Coalition is proving to be very successful so far, having reached over 450 individual members, but also in terms of ongoing engagement in activities and interest from others to replicate ideas, such as the Global South Talent Pool. Going forward, the focus is on maintaining involvement of the membership, ensuring ongoing engagement in activities and the communities of practice, to ensure that members are receiving the greatest benefit out of belonging to the Coalition, and that membership translates into action that increases resilience.