A new study that analysed changes associated with direct and indirect use of freshwater and land for meat and milk production in Kenya over a 20-year period has established that the demand for water and land for meat and milk production is mainly determined by the total numbers, feed conversion efficiency and diet composition of livestock.
We need to step back from the discussion about the multiple meanings of resilience, how it can be focused and measured, and put resilience building projects into a framework for making sense out of systems. If we do not know, or cannot agree on what kind of system is being managed by resilience building projects, it will be impossible to decide on an appropriate project design. Activities, objectives and indicators will be a muddle of intervention parts that belong to different systems.
Understanding the development process and how it unfurls against those headwinds is crucial to understanding the nature of development outcomes. The relative steadiness of the development process can be highly informative of progress towards long term development goals. We can examine whether smooth, steady growth on a particular trajectory is preferable to a more volatile progress.
Resilience research is inherently more important where shocks are most pervasive and our understanding of it should not be biased by ease of access. It is hence all the more critical that we tackle these obstacles so as to glean the insights we can, and inform policies to improve the resilience of vulnerable communities.
As noted by previous authors in this series, resilience is the buzzword of the decade: it has overtaken sustainability as the goal of development. Resilience has come to mean stronger, deeper or longer-term sustainability. And as the other contributors to this series have also noted, the definition of resilience is contested. But does it matter if there is no common definition? It is important to remove the focus on achieving resilience, and instead apply resilience concepts to progress the goals of sustainable development.
One of the focus areas of the Livestock Systems and Environment (LSE) program at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) through the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems is on adaptation and resilience. Here, the objective is to build capacity for adaptation to environmental change and resilient development processes among farmers and livestock keepers. Over …
Of the multiple meanings of resilience, the only sensible way to give it focused meaning is by answering the question: resilience of what system to what kind of disturbance? As different cultures have different beliefs that affect their mental maps of the world, the question of ‘resilience for whom?’ is as important as ‘resilience of what to what?’. Without focused meaning, resilience will remain a fuzzy idea that will defy attempts to define management objectives with technically sound indicators for projects intended to enhance the resilience of livelihood systems.