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Climate Resilience Framework: Putting Resilience Into Practice

Authors: Richard Friend; Kenneth MacClune

Climate change will profoundly challenge the way human society has organized and planned. With its cross-sector and cross-scale yet highly uncertain impacts, climate change could hinder human progress for decades to come. The development and scientific communities have converged on the idea of enhancing resilience to address this pervasive but uncertain risk. Resilient systems are capable of absorbing a multitude of shocks and stresses; they may even become fundamentally altered; yet a resilient system’s core services and sense of value will quickly return or be maintained through a crisis. Underpinnings for our use of resilience are commitments to justice, equality, and fairness. The Climate Resilience Framework (CRF) is a conceptual framework for assessing climate vulnerabilities and risk under conditions of uncertainty and to plan interventions that lead to enhanced resilience. With core elements of the CRF emerging from complex systems theory, resilience is seen as emerging from the interplay of agents, systems and institutions. Key to enhancing resilience is a shared understanding of the issues amongst a wide collection of stakeholders therefore requiring an open, inclusive learning process to identify specific measures and processes that can address the uncertainties of climate change through action and implementation. The CRF process is a collaborative planning process based on the core components of the resilience framework (systems, agents, institutions), and their characteristics. The resilience planning process includes three main activities: a vulnerability assessment, the development and implementation of interventions to build resilience, and an iterative shared learning approach to guide the whole process. In general terms, the approach outlined is an iterative cycle of reflection and action where innovation is key and where experimentation is prized.


Citation: Friend, Richard, & MacClune, Ken. (2012). Climate resilience framework: Putting resilience into practice. Boulder, CO: Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-International.

Funded By:  U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); The Rockefeller Foundation