Making policies work

Promoting Resilience

Resilience, as in the ability to withstand, cope and adapt to shocks, has become an increasingly important concept in peacebuilding and statebuilding. There is no real consensus on how to apply the concept of resilience in practice. At the state level, a degree of transformation of the deeper structures will be necessary to uplift the resilience of the state as a whole.

For more open and innovative ways of thinking about what contributes to the ability of households, communities and societies to withstand shocks and manage risks, we work to increase the conceptual understanding of what resilience means in fragile contexts, how resilience can be built and how it can be assessed. Our work aims to deepen understanding on how state transformations can be fostered.

Read more on ECDPM’s work on Resilience here

How decision-making is organised, how collective action is organised, who is included and who is not and how much contestation exists between different ways of organising society are all factors that can determine the resilience of a society against shocks.

Communities in fragile states often proven themselves resilient against the odds, and our work aims to increase the knowledge on how policies can better take account of communities proven ability to remain resilient, and ensuring these policies build on, rather than undermine, this resilience. This requires a different way of thinking about how change comes about, implying a shift from more linear, technocratic and linear approaches to approaches that aim at fostering the conditions in which beneficial social change and resilience can emerge.

ECDPM’s will work to:

  • Increase conceptual understanding of resilience in the context of fragile states, through Discussion Papers and other publications in the public domain.
  • Promote resilience thinking in frameworks and methodologies for peacebuilding and statebuilding, such as conflict analysis and fragility assessments.
  • Engage in global policy dialogues on resilience, for instance through the EU Resilience Forum, and – with a more specific focus on fragile states – engaging in policy dialogues fostered by Interpeace, UNDP and UNICEF.


Will the new Communication on resilience help to make EU external action more effective?
Volker Hauck, ECDPM Talking Point blog, 17 March 2017

Resilience: A Trojan Horse for a New Way of Thinking?
Frauke de Weijer, ECDPM Discussion Paper 139, January 2013