The EU Approach to Resilience: Learning from Food Security Crises
Presentation by François Grünewald
In the wake of problems encountered in the Horn of Africa and building on food security crisis experiences, the European Commission has developed a new approach in order to address resilience and vulnerability issues on a long-term basis. Recurring crises and their impacts indicate the need to work towards that goal.
The new «Communication on resilience» was elaborated jointly by ECHO and DEVCO due to the realisation that we live in an increasingly fragile world: environmental degradation and climate change, exposure to political instability and armed conflicts, high and volatile food prices, exposure to natural hazards and economic shocks, demographic pressure and urbanisation.
Resilience can be found at different levels, with various dimensions:
Resilience is defined as the ability of an individual, a household, a community, a country or a region to withstand, to adapt, and to quickly recover from stresses and shocks. The interesting element in this is the capacity to resist shocks and bounce back. One of La Fontaine’s fables, “The Oak and the Reed” illustrates resilience perfectly. The oak may appear stronger than the reed, but at some point, the force applied to it becomes too much to take and it breaks. On the other hand, the reed may appear to be weaker, but, as it tells the oak, it bends but does not break. The fable teaches us that no matter how strong one may look, in the end it is the resilience strategies implemented for survival that really matter.