Tuesday 6
Assessing resilience assessment: is the tool applicable to management of social-ecological systems in contested frontier regions?
Robert Bushbasher, W. Barthels
› 17:15 - 18:10 (55min)
› Antigone 1
Resilience Assessment in Tajikistan; cross-scale perspectives
Jamila Haider  1@  , Allyson Quinlan  2@  , Christo Fabricius  2@  
1 : Stockholm Resilience Centre  (SRC)  -  Website
Stockholm Resilience Centre Stockholm University Kräftriket 2B, SE-114 19 Stockholm -  Suède
2 : Resilience Alliance  -  Website

Proposed for session: Assessing resilience assessment: is the tool applicable to management of social-ecological systems in contested frontier regions?

Abstract: Use of the term resilience in international development practice is somewhat akin to putting the cart before the horse. Vogue in theory, the concept(s) is yet to be concretely defined or measured in practice. Donors, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and communities are all asking for and striving to achieve resilience. The issue, however, is that its operationalization in a practical development context is difficult and measurement remains a challenge. How do we know when resilience is an appropriate goal to strive for, and indeed, when it has been achieved? Resilience Assessment is one tool that has been developed to help practitioners assess past and present resilience, and inspire future resilient trajectories. We know of no studies that have assessed the effectiveness of a resilience assessment in a development context, or followed its implementation over time; given the nascent nature of the tool, this is hardly surprising. In this presentation, we provide insights from a Resilience Assessment in Tajikistan, where we explore how the assessment has evolved with a national-level NGO and within local communities over a period of four years. We highlight how resilience has been interpreted across various scales (temporal and organizational), and which concepts and tools were useful at different levels, for different end-users.

Tajikistan is a country in transition from a centralized to free market economy following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The transition has been difficult, plagued by civil war, weak institutions and strong historical dependency effects, creating a governance arena wrought with corruption and uncertainty. The mountainous biophysical environment of Tajikistan creates additional challenges for resource dependent peoples trying to govern resources in areas of increasing resource scarcity and institutional voids. This case study is from Rasht region, one of the poorest areas of Tajikistan.

The history of the social-ecological system was addressed using assessment tools from the workbook. The community highlighted three distinct periods: Soviet, civil war and current, all with distinct governance structures across scales and varying ecological consequences. Here we question, what does a resilience approach bring to the understanding of this history compared to other assessment approaches?

In order to address opportunities for more appropriate governance structures, the local NGO requested two expert consultants (Quinlan and Fabricius) to conduct a Resilience Assessment. The consultants worked closely with two leaders within the NGO to incorporate a resilience approach into the NGOs strategy. The resilience approach was adopted by the civil society team, working with communities to create village development plans. Today all communities use a resilience approach in their strategic planning.

Finally, we address future areas for resilience assessment in a development context. Questions for discussion include: How can we assess effectiveness of Resilience Assessment? What indicators are suitable for measuring resilience outcomes in development interventions? Can the Resilience Assessment help develop appropriate indicators for different end-users?

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