Conflict, fragility and resilience

Risk and Resilience


Focusing on the overall well-being of people exposed to shocks, building on their own capacities


More needs to be done to address the broad range of risks and stresses that undermine development and fuel crises. New approaches are needed that strengthen people and systems’ resilience and address societies’ overall well-being.

What is resilience?

The ability of households, communities and nations to absorb and recover from shocks, whilst positively adapting and transforming their structures and means for living in the face of long-term stresses, change and uncertainty.


Our goal

There is a growing recognition that different types of risks – violence and conflict, climate change, disasters, global shocks, and other risk factors such as urbanisation and ageing populations – are inter- connected. Working in silos no longer makes sense – if we are to deal with these risks, and deliver more effective results, humanitarian and development actors and states will need to plan and work more closely together. We have a shared responsibility to help societies face crises, and to ensure that our development investments are not undermined or destroyed by crises and shocks.

The OECD and Resilience

The OECD’s resilience work brings together a broad range of actors who are committed to help societies boost their well-being and capacity to face shocks. Resilience is an emerging area, and the OECD is well placed – with no stake in the outcome – to find synergies between a range of political, humanitarian and development options for dealing with risk. We also play a unique role in driving better results: holding members to account on their international commitments but also promoting the sharing of good practice.

Together we will help OECD members increase the effectiveness and sustainability of their development investments, and deliver the SDGs.


Tools for resilience



The OECD’s resilience systems analysis framework helps translate strategy into more effective cross-sectoral,
multidimensional programme plans, based on a shared understanding of the impacts of risks and stresses and
agencies’ respective comparative advantage – whether government, bilateral development co-operation partners,
or other international, national and local agencies.

Guidelines for Resilience Systems Analysis: A “how-to” guide for field practitioners

Support to DAC members

The OECD is committed to supporting DAC members to meet their commitments and to strengthen resilience through their strategy and planning processes. Initial support to DAC members has been focused on a collaboration with Sweden in the use of the Resilience Systems Analysis (RSA).  The RSA has been used to test the integration of systems analysis at various points in Sweden’s programme cycle, from strategy development to review to programme development.


June 2015


Jordan and Lebanon
June 2015


October 2015

Sweden had not previously focused on articulating a development strategy in an environment as complex as Syria.

A RSA workshop identified the major stakeholders influencing the people’s well-being, including for instance the local business community, and helped to inform the development of the Regional Syria Crisis Response Strategy. Read the report


As a result of the Syrian conflict, Jordan and Lebanon host one of the highest ratios of registered refugees in the world.

A RSA workshop allowed Sweden to think more creatively about potential partnerships to support the countries’ capacity to manage this crisis. It highlighted the key role of private sector, civil society organisations, family networks and faith based organisations in strengthening resilience. Read the report



A RSA workshop supported the mid-term review of the Swedish strategy implementation in Somalia.

It highlighted Sweden’s comparative advantage within the Somali context to ensure that Sweden’s contributions complement the engagement of other development partners and the Government of Somalia. It also recommended to deliver stronger development outcomes at the community level as a key aspect of supporting longer term statebuilding and institutional strengthening.  Read the report

                     February 2016


South Sudan
February 2016


March 2016

A RSA workshop supported the mid-term review of the Swedish strategy implementation in Sudan. It helped Sweden to better understand the impacts of its portfolio contributions at different layers of Sudanese society.

It showed the need to strengthen the human rights perspective through a focus on governance, rule of law and legislative reform.  Read the report



A RSA workshop supported the mid-term review of the Swedish strategy implementation in South Sudan.

This workshop helped to identify key stakeholders that are supporting people in accessing critical assets, including the National Council for Child Welfare and several women’s groups.  Read the report


A RSA workshop was held in Nairobi in order to operationalize the new development strategy approved by the Swedish government.

It helped to rationalise Sweden's contributions to ensure that they are strategic and catalytic. It also highlighted the need to better understand the role of social capital in strengthening people's resilience. Read the report

May 2016

A RSA workshop took place in Addis Ababa to support the operationalization of the 2016-2020 Swedish Development Strategy for Ethiopia.

Among other things, it helped identifying Sweden’s comparative advantage in Ethiopia, which includes long term engagement in the country, a strong support for gender equality and links with the civil society. Read the report


On-going projects

Integrating the RSA into Sweden’s programming system:  further collaboration with Sweden will involve developing recommendations for the systematic integration of the RSA into the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency’s current programme planning cycle. The collaboration could be an example for other DAC members of how systems analyses can be integrated into programming processes.

Support to Australia: the OECD will soon support the operationalisation of Australia’s resilience financing and programming for the Pacific


Support to UN agencies, national and local governments, and other actors


Democratic Republic of the Congo
April 2014


September 2014


February 2015

Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo faces multiple and diverse shocks: conflicts, disasters, illnesses and lack of employment.

A RSA workshop identified the critical role of social capital to cope with those shocks and the impact of humanitarian programming in undermining this social capital. It resulted in a shift in UN programming from supporting displaced communities to supporting host families and their assets.

Analysis led by UNICEF with support from the OECD


Lebanon is currently facing a range of shocks related to the crisis in Syria that could potentially lead to social unrest in Lebanon itself.

A RSA workshop produced some surprising results, identifying several critical factors that contribute to Lebanon’s comparatively high levels of resilience thus far, such as the major role of the private sector in delivering basic services.

Analysis led by the UN Resident Coordinator with support from the Government, UNDP sub-regional facility, Mercy Corps and OECD

Twenty-four years after the start of its civil war, Somalia continues to face interconnected and complex challenges that constrain development.

A RSA workshop focused on supporting the resilience of the livelihood system of agro-pastoral, pastoral and peri-urban communities in Somalia. It showed the need to promote stronger social capital and accountability at all layers of society and proposed to strengthen financial assets through improving the value chain.

Analysis led by SomRep with support from FAO, UNICEF, WFP, BRCiS, the EU and OECD

Documents from the workshop

DRC Resilience Roadmap – English
DRC Resilience Roadmap – Français


Documents from the workshop

Stabilisation Systems Analysis - Lebanon: Results and roadmap



Documents from the workshop

Somalia: Resilience Systems analysis
(full report)
Resilience Systems Analysis – Somalia (2-pager)

South Sudan
March 2016


The context in South Sudan is highly complex and rapidly changing. A Resilience Systems Analysis workshop focused on increasing the understanding of the risk landscape to better strengthen the resilience of the communities in the Greater Bahr el-Ghazal region. It also helped to identify opportunities to reinforce co-ordination between different stakeholders including the UN agencies, the government and civil society.

Analysis led by UNICEF with support from UN agencies, local government, civil society and OECD

Resilience working papers

What are the right incentives to help donors support resilience?

A number of challenges stand in the way of donors moving towards a focus on building resilience in partner countries. These challenges fall into the following categories:  Contextual – factors in the overall operating environment in partner countries, that shape, and sometimes restrict, how donors can function;  Programmatic – factors that influence how development, climate change and humanitarian assistance programmes are designed and the results that can be achieved; Institutional – structural factors that influence how donors, and their staff, behave and operate.
This paper outlines how these different challenges can limit, and sometimes prohibit, donors from working to strengthen the resilience of people, communities, and states and their institutions. The paper also proposes a menu of incentives that could be useful in different contexts to ensure political buy-in for resilience, to drive behaviour change by all actors, and to ensure that the risk analysis actually leads to the prioritisation of resilience programming

How should donors communicate about risk and resilience?

There has been much talk about risk and resilience over the last couple of years – much talk and perhaps also much confusion. Lack of coherent communication about what resilience means, how results can be measured, and the value that resilience will add to a crowded development agenda, has become a major sticking point in translating what seems like a common-sense concept, with strong political buy-in, into action on the ground. The confusion stems from three main factors: Lack of coherent messages about what resilience entails;  Different actors defining resilience based on narrow mandates, and in a competitive environment for funds, and;  Resistance from experienced actors in the field, who are already struggling to implement existing initiatives.
This paper outlines current approaches to communicating about risk and resilience, and offers guidance on how to communicate about resilience within donor agencies, with partners, and to other important stakeholders such as parliaments and taxpayers.

Risk and Resilience: From Good Idea to Good Practice(3.4 MB pdf)
Annexes - Risk and Resilience: From Good Idea to Good Practice (3.3 MB pdf)



Read this report online or via a mobile device
Read the annexes to the report online or via a mobile device



From good idea to good practice – options to make resilience work (4-page summary)

This paper outlines the key findings from Phase 1 of the work on Risk and Resilience, and outlines the priorities set for Phase 2: Ensuring that resilience and risk are properly integrated into the post-2015 processes;  Simple guidelines for country teams on how to “do” resilience;  Piloting a joint risk assessment in the field, including further work on measuring resilience;  Embedding resilience into donor processes, including the potential role of markers.





Risk financing

A Calculated Risk: OECD Working Paper 17

Better financial preparedness against risk is a central part of a comprehensive approach to disaster management. Risk financing and risk transfer are approaches to planning for risks that cannot be reduced or avoided practically or cost-effectively and may include a strategy and practical measures to ensure the availability of funds for post-disaster relief and reconstruction, commensurate with the scale and frequency of anticipated risks. Risk financing is of growing interest to a wide range of development and humanitarian actors searching for solutions to bridge a growing global post-disaster financing gap. This report describes key features of risk financing and risk transfer, examines some of the current challenges at the contextual and programmatic levels as well as institutional challenges donors might face in engaging in risk financing and recommends a set of principles and policy approaches to guide future donor support and engagement.         


Related Documents

Joint OECD-WB publication on Climate and Disaster Resilience Financing in Small Island Developing States

Good development support in fragile, at risk and crisis affected countries


Related Documents