State Resilience to Shocks and Disasters


Disaster resilience broadly describes the ability of an individual or community to “bounce back” from disaster impacts, through improved mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. In this context, disaster resilience focuses on two components namely social capital and collective efficacy. These two components capture the interactive aspects of a community that imply a capacity to respond, adapt, learn, and effectively reorganize community life quickly following a disaster event. Social capital and collective efficacy[1] are not only less established in resilience research, but they are also the key components that, from a sociological perspective, make a community “a community” and have the potential to meet the needs of vulnerable populations. 

Resilience is “a measure of the persistence of systems and of their ability to absorb change and disturbance and still maintain the same relationships between populations or state variables (UNDRR, 2015). It also extended to examine the capacity of a system, community, or society potentially exposed to hazards to adapt, by resisting or changing, in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure; determined by the degree to which the social system is capable of organizing itself to increase this capacity for learning from past disasters for better future protection and to improve risk reduction measures.

In the context of governance dimension, state resilience and preparedness refer to the readiness of the political leadership and public institutions to mobilise, organise, coordinate and manage disasters within the framework of public-private partnerships and international cooperation.  Thus, an adequate level of preparedness implies dynamic responsive systems at the intersection of societies, ecosystems, natural hazards, regional and global risks. This includes the enhancement of early warning systems and promotion of adaptive capacity at local and national government level. Establishing the capability to contain and curb extreme events by building and strengthening infrastructure, critical economic sectors, governance and social systems. The availability of resources for disaster risk preparedness and management is critical in building a resilient state in a globalising world. 

Guided by the international and regional frameworks on disaster risk reduction (DRR), this thematic area seeks to assess the level of preparedness and capacity to bounce back after shocks in member states by looking at:
a)    The Policy, legislative and institutional frameworks being implemented or domesticated at national level to enhance state capacity to respond to shocks, infectious diseases and disasters
b)    Mechanisms adopted by countries to enhance knowledge management and a system for early detection and warning during shocks, infectious diseases and disasters. 
c)    Measures in place for increasing investment (financial, critical infrastructure and human) for DRR.
d)    Steps members states are taking to build an effective response system to enable them build better in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction 

The integration of State Resilience to shocks and disasters (SRSD) builds on international commendable Disaster Risk Reduction Commitments to which the African continent has subscribed, do exist at various degrees of completeness in African countries, including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) 2015-2030, the Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 in Africa  (PoA), the Africa Regional Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the International Health regulations (IHR). These commitments aim to achieve the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.