‘Momentum is building for promoting sustainable rangeland landscapes, and Africa is in the lead.’ This was the observation of Abdelkader Bensada, programme management officer for the United Nations Environment (UN Environment), at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) held 29–30 August 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.
On 29–30 August 2018, the Rangelands Initiative of the International Land Coalition will host a discussion forum on rangelands at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) to explore what the landscape approach can look like in rangelands, and how it can effectively contribute to the pursuit of global mechanisms and initiatives for sustainable landscapes.
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.
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.