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Disaster resilience: what it is and how it can engender a meaningful change in development policy

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Disasters pose a growing threat to sustainable development. Disaster risk management efforts have largely failed to arrest the underlying drivers of increased global risk: uncontrolled urbanization and proliferation of assets in hazardous areas. Resilience provides an opportunity to confront the social‐ecological foundations of risk and development; yet it has been vaguely conceptualized, without offering a concrete approach to operationalization. We propose a conceptualization of disaster resilience centred on well‐being: ‘The ability of a system, community or society to pursue its social, ecological and economic development objectives, while managing its┬ádisaster risk over time in a mutually reinforcing way.’ We present a conceptual framework for understanding the interconnections between disasters and development, and outline how it is being operationalized in practice.
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Keywords: development; disasters; policy; resilience; systems

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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