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Conceptualizing community resilience to global environmental change in the context of food insecure drylands
Förch, Wiebke ;  Hutchinson, Charles ;  Finan, Timothy ;  Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften, Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik

Main titleConceptualizing community resilience to global environmental change in the
context of food insecure drylands
AuthorFörch, Wiebke
AuthorHutchinson, Charles
AuthorFinan, Timothy
InstitutionFreie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften, Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik
No. of Pages28 S.
Series
Classification (DDC)300 Social sciences
AbstractWhile increased emphasis is placed on interactions between natural and human
systems, understanding of social components of global environmental change (GEC) remains
weak. Concepts of resilience, vulnerability and adaptive capacity become crucial in
addressing these dimensions and need to be integrated to enhance our knowledge of
consequences and responses to GEC in the context of development. In the past, approaches to
GEC often solely focused on managing vulnerability while poor people were categorized as
victims of environmental variability, economic exploitation and political marginalization.
However, people have capabilities to cope with change and look for risk reduction strategies.
A rigid vulnerability focus does not consider these capabilities and ignores levels of resilience
and adaptive capacity of communities. A more positive approach is to recognize people as
active agents with varying abilities to respond to change, rather than passive victims; thus
highlighting resilience as it varies across communities.
Resilience is increasingly central to development debates and is a crucial element in
determining societies’ response capacities to change. Theoretical frameworks are applied in
various contexts, while using a diverse range of definitions. This paper aims to provide an
overview of the intellectual foundations of resilience and development; to contextualize
resilience as a societal response option to GEC in development; and, focusing on drylands, to
discuss its relevance, considering controversies over its definition, strengths and weaknesses.
The discussion shows that resilience in development remains a largely elusive concept
with weak practical application. There is a need for improved integration of resilience within
a multidimensional paradigm that addresses local needs and future change. This is crucial in
drylands, where the role of risk needs to be better understood to realize the full potential for
development through strengthening human adaptive capacity. A resilience approach to
development is suggested to enhance the appreciation for the interactions of societal
responses to GEC within the context of development. It offers an adaptive and
interdisciplinary view, while strengthening community participation and empowerment
towards sustainable pathways out of poverty.
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FU DepartmentProceedings of the Berlin Conferences on   Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change
Year of publication2010
Type of documentConferencepresentation
LanguageEnglish
Terms of use/Rights Nutzungsbedingungen
Authors commentsB3: Resilient Communities
Created at2010-11-11 : 02:32:44
Last changed2014-01-23 : 04:25:01
 
Static URLhttp://edocs.fu-berlin.de/docs/receive/FUDOCS_document_000000006924
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