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Source: European Union (EU)
European Commission
3 October 2012

Brussels, 3 October 2012

EU approach to resilience: Learning from food crises


What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability of an individual, a household, a community, a country or a region to withstand, adapt, and quickly recover from stresses and shocks such as drought, violence, conflict or natural disaster.

One practical tool to increase resilience, especially to recurrent crises like droughts and floods, are the 'seasonal safety net' programmes, targeted at the most vulnerable households, aiming to catch them before they fall into crisis, such as a poor harvest. These safety nets commonly involve cash transfers, either unconditionally, or in exchange for work or training, to the most vulnerable people during the period of the year when their reserves of money and food are lowest.

Another proven resilience-building tool is prevention and preparation projects, designed according to cyclical risks, such as hurricanes and violent storms during the rain season, or unpredictable vulnerabilities, such as earthquakes. These projects work best when they include and are embraced by local communities.
Developing early warning systems and advancing collaboration with the insurance industry are other areas with potential for building resilience, identified in the new Communication.

What is the EU doing to build up resilience?

The Commission's new resilience communication outlines ten steps that will increase resilience and reduce the vulnerability of the world's most vulnerable people. These steps include support for the design of national resilience strategies, disaster management plans and efficient early-warning systems in disaster-prone countries, as well as putting forward innovative approaches to risk management through collaboration with the insurance industry.

Examples of humanitarian projects contributing to resilience


Around the world


In the Occupied Palestinian Territory the development of settlements, coupled with evictions orders, has heightened tensions. Some settlers and their armed guards are known to harass or even attack children. It has become extremely difficult for Palestinians to obtain building permission from Israeli authorities in some places. The Commission is funding a centre that tries to help children and their parents cope with these fears and uncertainties. The centre also helps children understand they have a right to protection from violence, as well as how to solve their problems without resorting to violence, thus building their resilience to conflict.


For more information:
Press Release IP/12/1052: "EU puts resilience at the heart of its work on fighting hunger and poverty"

Website of European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection:
Website of Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid:

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