- The Resilience Evidence Forum (REF) 2023 Synthesis Report serves as a comprehensive guide to resilience-building methodologies and evidence.
- The report underscores the pivotal role of high-quality evidence both in mobilising the large-scale financing needed and informing and catalysing the policy changes essential for building resilience.
- The Report summarises key discussions held at the June 2023 Resilience Evidence Forum, co-hosted by USAID and the Global Resilience Partnership, which brought together more than 1,000 global stakeholders to evaluate the state of resilience evidence.
In a world grappling with escalating crises—from conflict and pandemics to the dire impacts of climate change—never has resilience been more critical. Released today, the REF 2023 Synthesis Report sets a new benchmark as an unmatched guide to resilience-building methodologies and evidence. The report recognises resilience as the ability to recover from and adapt to shocks and stresses, while enabling longer-term, systemic transformations, and offers actionable insights to inform investment, policy, and decision-making.
Through summarising the key discussions held at the REF in Cape Town, the report underscores the imperative to build on progress, address gaps, recognise various forms of evidence, and prioritise resilience as a collective goal.
Evidence of successful resilience implementation spans different sectors, stakeholders, and geographies – from the strengthening of small-holder farmers and grower communities’ resilience through radical cross-sector collaboration to the role of climate smart agriculture that combines seed technologies, soil fertility, and innovative financial tools for farmers. Taken together, the evidence detailed in the report showcases the increasing magnitude of resilience building initiatives globally.
However, scaling these evidence-based solutions requires a significant increase in finance. Annual spending on climate resilience alone is less than $50 billion, a mere fraction of the estimated $160 billion to $340 billion required. The private sector contributes just 2% to this insufficient pool, making resilience gains fragile and susceptible to setbacks like those witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To unlock further funding for resilience programming at the scale needed, the report concludes, evidence needs to be relevant and actionable. This also stands true for policy and decision-making; evidence must not only be rigorous and reliable, but also apply to the policies and decisions it seeks to influence. This will require collaborative action from donors, the private sector, policy makers, governments, community-based organisations and leaders, and research organisations to satisfy evidence needs, avoid duplication of efforts, and focus resources and investments.
In parallel, the report demonstrates the importance of diverse evidence – including that which is grounded in local experience and knowledge – to fortify global resilience efforts in the face of increasing threats and to connect local realities with global goals.
“Without equitable, radical collaboration and commitment to evidence that informs decision-making, policy, and investment,, we will continue to face barriers in protecting and supporting environments and communities that can flourish even in the face of change and uncertainty. The Resilience Evidence Forum was a significant moment for taking stock of where we are and where we need to go in strengthening resilience.” – Dr Nathanial Matthews, Chief Executive Officer, Global Resilience Partnership
Co-hosted by USAID and the Global Resilience Partnership, REF was the first such occasion in five years, convening more than 1,000 individuals from the private sector to universities to NGOs and local community groups. As well as a focus on how to further resilience programming, REF and the Synthesis Report highlights case studies and resilience success stories. These offer insight into the interventions that have worked and serve to guide future interventions. Examples of these success stories can be found in Appendix 1.
“With climate and other shocks becoming more frequent, severe and overlapping, there is an urgency to getting smarter, faster in terms of knowing what works when it comes to building resilience. At USAID we will continue to promote convenings like the Forum, to learn more about what others are doing and learning, and promote collaboration and partnership needed to drive equitable growth and well-being in an increasingly unpredictable world.”– Dina Esposito, Feed the Future Deputy Coordinator for Development and USAID Global Food Crisis Coordinator
“It is very important that the stories of resilience get told in the language of those impacted the most and that we learn to work with those stories, pull out what we need from that and don’t take a top-down approach to resilience evidence.” – Dr Shehnaaz Moosa, Director, SouthSouthNorth
Slum Dwellers International (SDI)’s Know Your City long-standing profiling programme has helped debunk assumptions about informal settlements through community organising and the collection of household-level slum enumeration. For example, since 2017, residents of Mukuru — one of the largest informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya — undertook an ambitious, groundbreaking participatory upgrading process, the Mukuru Special Planning Area (SPA). Led by the Kenya Slum Dwellers Federation, this process organised over 1,000 groups in 21 cities and towns to take part in a community-led enumeration process. This was then used to inform the development of the area-based upgrading plan.
SERVIR, a collaborative initiative between NASA, USAID, and leading technical organisations, leverages satellite data to address pressing challenges in food security, water resources, weather and climate, land use, and natural disasters in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. This partnership correlates satellite observations with ground data in regions like Ethiopia, Niger, and Zimbabwe, effectively measuring resilience from space by assessing the efficacy of development interventions (e.g.,halfmoon constructions for rain retention and soil improvement). The transparent and objective nature of satellite data supports evidence-based decision-making, thereby bolstering sustainability efforts in vulnerable regions.
Under the Grown for Good Framework, world-leading spice and flavour producers McCormick & Company aim to increase the resilience of over 35,000 farmers by 2025 This is measured by increasing skills and capacity, income, access to financial services, education, and nutrition and health,. This is achieved through multiple interventions – from purchasing higher-value cured vanilla beans from the growing communities, rather than raw, that give farmers a higher purchase price, to investing in infrastructure for remote communities such as the vanilla-growing communities in Madagascar, and building or rehabilitating local schools and libraries, giving children from farming families improved access to education.
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