National Science Challenges: Resilience to nature's challenges short-term project working paper, delivery 1, resilience benchmarking & monitoring review

Joanne Stevenson, John Vargo, Vivienne Ivory, Chris Bowie, Suzanne Wilkinson

Deliverable 1 overview

New Zealand is at an exciting point in its trajectory towards becoming a leader and exemplar of disaster resilience. The Government, through the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE), is funding the National Science Challenges (NSC) through its partner GNS Science. The NSC funding format encourages cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration and strategic planning to enact transformative change through best-practice research.

The Resilience to Nature’s Challenges (RNC) – Kia manawaroa Ngā Ākina o Te Ao Tūroa - priority research area under the NSC umbrella aims to achieve, “transformative resilience, discovering and implementing new research-based solutions for our society, culture, infrastructure and governance to address factors that will enable New Zealand to thrive in the face of nature’s challenges,” (Jolly 2014).

An important part of the RNC research programme will be mapping and monitoring the trajectories of the various systems that contribute to New Zealand’s resilience. Prior to the launch of the RNC in July 2015, RNC researchers conducted a short-term project to provide a foundation for understanding how we can benchmark the resilience of New Zealand’s systems and monitor resilience progress.

This short-term project, The Resilience Benchmarking and Monitoring Review, is intended to provide an inclusive, up-to-date resource of theoretical and practical resilience frameworks and reviews of current resilience literature and relevant datasets. The deliverables produced as part of this short-term project will be used across the RNC-NSC to aid the usefulness, consistency and robustness of resilience benchmarking and monitoring. The deliverables will also aid the development of the workplan for RNC-NSC Toolbox 7: Resilience Trajectories.

This working paper provides a summary of the work undertaken as part of The Resilience Benchmarking and Monitoring Review. Section 1 addresses the definition of resilience as it pertains to disasters. Although a large number of articles grapple with the definition of resilience, the authors felt it was necessary to attempt to facilitate a common understanding across the RNC by providing a robust cross-disciplinary interpretation of the concept. Section 2 addresses conceptual questions raised by stakeholders during the short-term project expert consultation phase or questions that emerged from the literature review which will likely need to be addressed by the Resilience Trajectories Toolbox and other priority research areas in the future. Section 3 discusses operationalizing resilience to make practical changes for New Zealand communities. Section 4 outlines the multi-capital framework that underpins the holistic approach to resilience assessment in the RNC-NSC. Section 5 provides a brief review and critique of frameworks and assessment and monitoring tools that may inform the resilience research agenda over the next several years. Finally, Section 6 reflects on the conclusions of The Resilience Benchmarks and Monitoring Review and maps research plans and priorities emerging from this review.

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