UNDP embracing resilience. Making development vulnerable?

September 8, 2017 | Autor: Stefaan Anrys | Categoría: Development Studies, Resilience, Human Development, UNDP
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Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  

    Stefaan  Anrys   UNDP  embracing  resilience.  Making  development  vulnerable?     This   paper   examines   how   the   2014   Human   Development   Report   “Sustaining   Human   Progress:   Reducing   Vulnerabilities   and   Building   Resilience”   (UNDP   2014a)   considers   resilience   and   what   could   be   the   consequences  of  this.     Our   paper   is   based   mainly   on   literature   review   and   document   analysis   and   interviews   with   staff   having   served  or  still  serving  with  the  United  Nations  and  the  UNDP  in  particular.   We   aim   not   to   review   the   most   recent   literature   on   the   notion   of   resilience,   nor   will   we   undertake   a   discursive   analysis   of   this   year’s   Human   Development   Report.   We   will   rather   try   to   assess   the   politico-­‐ economical   reasons   behind   the   adoption   of   resilience   by   a   reputable   development   organization;   it’s   reframing   in   light   of   the   existent   controversies   around   resilience   as   well   as   the   contribution   the   articulation   of   resilience   in   the   HDR2014   may   have   for   development   as   a   whole.   This   last   section   of   the   paper   will   contain   more   personal   reflections   on   the   challenges   and   risks   the   use   of   resilience   as   a   guiding   paradigm   poses  to  development.   Keywords:  resilience,  vulnerability,  human  development  

Introduction     Although  the  concept  of  resilience  has  been  around  for  some  years  now,  it  is  interesting  to  examine   when,   how  and  why  it  entered  UNDP's  development  discourse.  While  resilience  has  appealing  aspects,  it  indeed   has  important  downsides,  not  in  the  least  it’s  fuzziness  possibly  leading  to  misunderstandings.     In  public  discourse  resilience  is  sometimes  reduced  to  a  capability  endowed  upon  individuals,  which  could   lay  the  burden  of  any  development  problem  whatsoever  on  the  individual  rather  than  on  the  group,  the   community,  the  society  or  the  make-­‐up  of  global  relations  (Reid  2013).   This   has   lead   critics   of   resilience   to   assume   it   has   been   co-­‐opted   by   neoliberal   thinking,   in   line   with   the   growing  self-­‐help  paradigm  in  development.  “Today's  discourse  is  one  of  ‘personal  responsibility’  opposed   to   a   dependency-­‐enhancing   paternalism.   Elements   of   this   discourse   are   now   to   be   found   even   in   the   position   of   NGOs   which   are   critical   of   policies   which   direct   fewer   and   fewer   resources   to   poverty   alleviation:   the   poor   need   to   be   given   the   resources   they   need   ‘to   help   themselves   out   of   poverty’”   (Gledhill  1996:  4).   UNDP,   as   a   multilateral   development   organisation,   has   always   tried   to   balance   the   overtly   neoliberal   institutions   based   in   Washington,   such   as   the   World   Bank   and   the   IMF.   These   have   since   much   longer   "incorporated   strategies   of   'resilience'   into   their   logistics   of   crisis   management,   financial   (de)regulation   and   development   economics"   (Walker   &   Cooper   2011:   144).   Could   it   be   that   UNDP   by   adopting   resilience   has  given  in  to  a  more  neo-­‐liberal  doctrine?   It   seems   not,   since   strangely   enough,   a   cursory   reading   of   this   year’s   report   shows   that   the   actual   formulation  and  linking  of  strategies  with  the  notion  of  resilience  is  rather  ambivalent  and  very  different   from   the   World   Bank’s   approach.   Might   resilience   work   as   a   bridging   concept   between   different   development  discourses?  The  2014  Human  Development  Report  (HDR)  throws  up  challenging  questions   about  the  pros  and  cons  of  resilience  in  development  and  of  development  buzzwords  in  general.    


Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  


The  rise  of  resilience     The   concept   of   ‘resilience’   has   become   ubiquitous   in   development   policy   in   recent   years.   Many   development  actors  define  resilience  as  the  “ability  of  an  individual,  a  household,  a  community,  a  country   or   a   region   to   withstand,   cope,   adapt,   and   quickly   recover   from   stresses   and   shocks   (…)   without   compromising  long-­‐term  development”  (European  Commission  2014).  These  shocks  most  often  relate  to   natural  disasters  or  conflicts.     The  EU  approach  comprises  initiatives  firstly  in  disaster  risk  reduction  or  DRR   –in  2013,  over  20%  of  the   European  Commission’s  humanitarian  funding  went  to  Disaster  Risk  Reduction–  but  also  climate  change   adaptation,   social   protection,   nutrition   and   food   security.   While   putting   a   larger   stress   on   the   developmental   and   transformational   focus   of   resilience,   often   considered   as   the   “missing”   link   between   relief   and   development,   amongst   others,   the   OECD   admits   it   proves   very   difficult   to   put   the   concept   to   good   use   in   practice.   “Resilience   remains   a   (largely)   political   agenda,   aimed   at   bringing   different   programming  silos  together,  but  often  without  clear  technical  guidance  for  programming  on  the  ground.   As   a   result,   field   staff   are   cynical   about   the   added   value   of   resilience,   and   are   confused   about   what   resilience  actually  means”  (Mitchell  2013:  i).   The   HDR   clearly   reflects   an   awareness   of   the   controversy   surrounding   the   notion   of   resilience.   The   summary   of   the   2014   report   states   that   “there   is   much   debate   about   the   meaning   of   resilience”   (UNDP   2014b:   2).   Immediately   afterwards,   the   text   ads   its   own   definition:   “ensuring   that   people’s   choices   are   robust,  now  and  in  the  future,  and  enabling  people  to  cope  and  adjust  to  adverse  events”  (UNDP  2014b:  2).   Unsurprisingly   the   HDR’s   definition   adds   the   adjective   human   to   resilience,   as   if   to   recall   the   UNDP’s   unique  selling  position  towards  other  multilateral  institutions  such  as  the  World  Bank  or  the  International   Monetary  Fund  (IMF).     Reading   further   through   the   summary,   our   surprise   is   big   when   stumbling   upon   China,   Rwanda   and   Vietnam,   reportedly   being   exemplary   cases   of   underdeveloped   nations   that   were   nevertheless   able   to   have   implemented   programmes   for   universal   health   services   for   its   population   -­‐   one   of   the   policies   put   forward   to   achieve   "human"   resilience.   When   reading   about   “decent   jobs   for   all”,   “full   employment”,   grants   and   pensions   as   some   of   the   policy   options,   our   surprise   only   grows   bigger.   It   seems   as   if   the   2014   Report  conforms  to  the  traditional  UNDP-­‐recipes.  Only  the  subtitle  of  the  document  –if  we  are  to  believe   scholars   as   Reid   (2013)   who   claims   resilience   is   co-­‐opted   by   neoliberalism–   seems   to   come   falling   from   the  sky.    

The  impact  of  the  UNDP    

Today   the   UNDP   focuses   on   four   main   areas:   poverty   reduction   and   achievement   of   the   Millennium   Development   Goals   (MDGs);   democratic   governance;   crisis   prevention   and   recovery;   and   environment   and   energy   for   sustainable   development.   Its   headquarters   are   in   New   York,   but   it   also   has   regional   bureaus  overseeing  Africa,  Arab  States,  Asia  and  the  Pacific,  Europe  and  Commonwealth  of  Independent   States  (CIS)  and  Latin  America  and  the  Caribbean.   The   UNDP   was   established   in   1966   as   a   merger   of   existing   UN   institutions   and   is   one   of   the   few   UN   organisations   focussing   solely   on   development.   It   has   representatives   in   more   than   170   countries   and   territories.1       Based  in  New  York,  it  began  to  challenge  the  “Washington  Consensus”,  coined  by  John  Williamson  (Broad   2004:  129),  with  its  yearly  Human  Development  Report,  first  published  in  1990.  The  Human  Development   Index—a  composite  measure  of  income,  education  and  health—was  presented  in  1990  as  an  alternative  to   GDP   (UNDP   2014a:   27).   New   indices   would   be   added   in   the   following   years,   introducing   a   multidimensional  alternative  to  the  mainly  neoliberal  growth-­‐paradigm  that  had  prevailed  thanks  to  the   efforts  of  the  World  Bank  and  the  IMF.      



 http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/operations/about_us/  (Accessed  August  17,  2014)  


Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  


Today   the   report   uses   a   Gender   Development   Index   (GDI),   the   Human   Development   Index   (HDI),   the   Inequality-­‐adjusted   Human   Development   Index   (IHDI),   Gender   Inequality   Index   (GII)   and   the   Multidimensional  Poverty  Index  (MPI).2   The   International   Bank   for   Reconstruction   and   Development3   and   the   International   Monetary   Fund   (IMF)   were   created   after   World   War   II   to   help   build   a   new   (economic)   world   order,   much   less   to   uplift   the   southern   hemisphere   out   of   poverty.   Their   explicit   aim   was   to   foster   trade,   capital   flows,   growth   and   economic  development  (Brautigam  2009:  26).  Only  later  they  would  become  major  actors  in  development   cooperation,  in  particular  with  the  publication  of  the  World  Bank’s  World  Development  Reports.   When   it   comes   to   development,   within   the   UN   family,   the   United   Nations   Development   Programme   (UNDP)   thus   clearly   rivals   the   World   Bank.   The   human   development   approach   has   all   along   been   concerned   with   global   reform   and   in   particular   the   UN   system   in   relation   to   the   Bretton   Woods   institutions  (Pieterse  2001:  153).   UNDP’s   New   York   Consensus   has   heavily   influenced   the   Post-­‐Washington   consensus   that   arose   after   the   1990’s.  With  the  Comprehensive  Development  Framework  (CDF)  the  WB,  for  example,  “explicitly  came  out   in  favour  of  poverty  reduction,  reducing  inequalities  and  improving  opportunities  for  the  poor”  (Develtere   2012:  65).  

Why  and  when  did  the  UNDP  adopt  resilience?     Crisis   prevention   and   recovery   is   part   of   UNDP’s   mandate.4   “Through   its   crisis   prevention   and   recovery   activities,   UNDP   helps   build   resilience,   reduce   the   impact   of   disasters,   and   accelerate   recovery   from   shocks”,   it   says   on   the   website5.   As   seen   above,   the   notion   of   resilience   is   often   used   in   the   context   of   humanitarian   aid   disaster   preparedness   and   disaster   risk   reduction.   Seen   its   worldwide   success   as   the   new  development  buzzword,  it  is  logical  to  see  it  re-­‐used  here.   It   neither   comes   as   a   surprise   that   UNDP   adopted   resilience,   a   notion   oft   claimed   to   depoliticize   development   problems   and   ignoring   unequal   power   relations   (Reid   2013,   Levine   et   al.   2012).   By   definition,   the   UN   programmes   and   agencies   have   to   find   a   consensus   between   their   members   and   thus   predominantly  look  for  neutral  often-­‐technical  solutions  to  underlying  political  problems.     Still,   the   fact   that   UN   funds   and   programmes   mainly   depend   on   voluntary   contributions   from   donor   countries   make   them   less   neutral   than   they   appear   to   be.   This   system   give   donors,   willing   to   fund   and   preferably   even   earmark   their   aid   beforehand,   much   leverage   and   jeopardizes   the   neutrality   of   UN   institutions.   Multilateral   relations   tend   also   to   become   more   “bilateralised”   then   ever.   UN   organisations   are   pushed   to   adapt   their   programmes   to   national   donor’s   priorities   and   the   UNDP   in   particular   has   become  increasingly  dependent  on  a  small  group  of  countries:  the  Scandinavian  countries,  Canada  and  the   Netherlands  (Develtere  2012:  133).     Jan   Vandemoortele   (2014),   whom   I   interviewed   and   who   served   in   various   capacities   with   the   United   Nations   for   30   years,6   argues   that   the   organisation   may   have   adopted   the   notion   in   order   to   please   London   and   maybe   secure   future   funding.   “London   and   not   Washington   is   the   epicentre   of   resilience   today.   In   this   I   see   the   hand   of   DFID   and   think   tanks   that   depend   on   it,   such   as   ODI,   the   Overseas   Development  Institute”  (Vandemoortele  2014,  personal  communication).   Is  it  farfetched  to  believe  one  donor  country  could  push  this  trough?  Not  necessarily.  When  looking  into   UNDP’s  most  recent  list  of  top  donors,  based  on  total  income  received  for  regular  and  other  resources  in   2013,   the   importance   the   United   Kingdom   is   obvious   indeed.   Today   it   is   UNDP’s   third   biggest   donor  

                                                                                                                 http://hdr.undp.org/en/faq-­‐page  (Accessed  August  17,  2014)    The  IBRD,  together  with  the  IDA  or  International  Development  Association,  is  the  main  agency  within  the  group  that  was  later  on  to   be  called  the  World  Bank.   4  Available  at  http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home.html  (Accessed  August  17,  2014)   5  Availabe  at  http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/crisis-­‐prevention-­‐and-­‐recovery/2012-­‐annual-­‐report-­‐ crisis-­‐prevention-­‐-­‐-­‐recovery/  (Accessed  August  17,  2014)   6  http://diplomatie.belgium.be/fr/binaries/res_vandemoortele_tcm313-­‐99273.pdf  (Accessed  August  23,  2014)   2 3



Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  


country,  after  Japan  and  Norway.7  And  the  British  DFID  seems  to  be  indeed  a  big  fan  of  resilience,  having   committed  already  in  2011  to  embed  resilience  building  in  all  its  country  programmes  (DFID  2011:  11).   “Resilience’s   hidden   agenda   is   neoliberal   in   my   view.   It   comes   down   to   saying   you   needn’t   government   anymore   to   do   development.   People   have   to   help   themselves.   In   this   way   resilience   fits   well   in   DFID’s   value  for  money  and  in  David  Cameron’s  neoliberalism”  (Vandemoortele  2014,  personal  communication).   In   principle   this   is   true   that   the   UNDP   operates   on   the   basis   of   ‘one-­‐country   one-­‐vote’,   and   although   consensus  is  the  norm  in  the  Executive  Board  of  UNDP  –  responsible  for  its  major  decisions  –  “it  is  hard  to   imagine  that  the  consensus  that  emerges  from  discussion  is  unrelated  to  each  Board  member’s  financial   contribution  both  to  the  UN  at  large  and  UNDP  in  particular”  (Boas  &  McNeill  2004:  211).   Moreover   due   to   the   financial   crisis   of   2008,   the   competition   for   public   funds   given   by   donor   countries   to   multilateral   organisations   has   increased   a   lot.   UN   organisations   see   their   lifelines   threatened.   In   2012-­‐ 2013  the  UN  galaxy  faced  a  260-­‐million-­‐dollar  cut  in  its  budget8.  The  UNDP  in  particular  faces  currently   major   layoffs,   also   among   its   top-­‐level   staff.9   Under   Helen  Clark’s   presidency   at   least   30   %   of  the  jobs   will   be  cut  at  the  New  York  headquarters.10  In  this  light,  it  might  well  be  that  the  organisation  is  re-­‐aligning  its   policy  or  at  least  pays  lip  service  to  important  funders.     Nonetheless,  things  might  be  more  complicated.  If  it  is  true  that  resilience  has  taken  a  hold  with  important   contributors  to  the  UNDP,  the  drafting  of  the  Human  Development  Report  is  much  more  complex  than  the   above  suggest.     The   preparation   of   the   global  Human   Development   Report   is   guided   by   a   special   resolution   of   the   General   Assembly  (A/RES/57/264)11  stating  it  is  “the  result  of  an  independent  intellectual  exercise”  and  affirming   that   the   policies   governing   the   operational   activities   are   decided   upon   by   the   member   States.   This   also   means   the   Human   Development   Report   Office   has   editorial   independence.   In   other   words   the   UNDP   Executive  Board  –i.e.  representatives  of  36  Member  States–  does  not  decide  upon  the  content  nor  can  be   held   accountable   for   it.   Every   Report,   also   the   2014   Report,   mentions   explicitly   that   it   is   published  for   the   United  Nations  Development  Programme,  not  by  the  UNDP  (UNDP  2014a:  iii).   The   drafting   of   the   Human   Development   Report   is   based   on   a   series   of   background   papers   commissioned   from   leading   experts   on   the   subject   matter   and   the   report   also   benefits   from   external   and   internal   advisory  panels.   But  before  all  that,  the  overarching  theme  has  to  be  fixed.  This  process  usually  happens  through  a  series  of   consultations   with   policymakers,   and   development   practitioners,   including   United   Nations   Resident   Coordinators  (UN  2012:  3).  The  HDR  Office  (HDRO)  considers  two  or  three  potential  topics  and  reviews   them  with  the  UNDP  executive  group,  which  is  the  UNDP  internal  managerial  body.  “For  the  2014  report,   we   came   up   with   resilience   and   vulnerabilities   and   another   theme   looking   into   the   Post   2015   agenda”   (Jespersen  2014,  deputy  director  of  the  HDRO,  personal  communication).     UNDP-­‐administrator   Helen   Clark,   who   is   part   of   the   UNDP   executive   group,   has   spoken   at   several   occasions   on   resilience   and   had   no   doubt   a   big   role   in   the   final   selection   of   the   theme.   The   adoption   of   resilience   by   the   UNDP   as   a   whole   has   in   fact   predated   the   2014   HDR   and   happened   under   Clark’s   leadership.  Helen  Clark  is  a  former  prime  minister  from  New  Zealand.  On  27  April  2009  she  became  the  

                                                                                                                 http://open.undp.org/#top-­‐donors/regular  (Accessed  August  23,  2014)    Facing  Budget  Cuts,  U.N.  Readies  for  Austerity  in  2012-­‐13,  IPS,  January  3,  2014,     available   at   http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/01/facing-­‐budget-­‐cuts-­‐un-­‐readies-­‐for-­‐austerity-­‐in-­‐2012-­‐13/   (Accessed   August   23,   2014)     9   U.N.   Development   Programme   Plans   Lay-­‐Offs,   Salary   Cuts   and   Demotions,   IPS,   May   30,   2014,   available   at   http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/05/undp-­‐plans-­‐lay-­‐offs-­‐salary-­‐cuts-­‐and-­‐demotions/  (Accessed  August  23,  2014)   10  Critics  say  that  the  restructuration  is  not  only  because  of  falling  contributions,  but  was  in  fact  long  “overdue”,  seen  the  UNDP’s  bad   track  record  in  effectiveness  and  performance.  In  an  article  published  in  2011,  the  UNDP  was  said  to  spend  more  on  administrative   costs  than  on  aid  disbursements  (129%)  and  reportedly  had  one  of  the  highest  salary/aid  ratio’s  (100%)  (Easterly  &  Williamson   2011:  1935).  We  should  note  though  that  one  of  the  authors  of  this  article,  William  Easterly,  a  professor  in  Economics,  served   between  1985-­‐2001  as  a  senior  advisor  and  economist  at  the  World  Bank,  the  (intellectual)  competitor  of  UNDP.   11  Available  at  http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/57/264&Lang=E  (Accessed  August  27,  2014)   7 8



Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  


first   woman   ever   to   lead   UNDP   12   and   in   2011   she   rebranded   the   UNDP.   “Empowered   lives.   Resilient   nations”  became  the  new  tagline.13   Clark   also   chairs   the   United   Nations   Development   Group,   a   committee   consisting   of   the   heads   of   all   UN   funds,  programmes  and  departments  working  on  development  issues.14  Great  Britain  strongly  supported   Clark’s  candidacy  for  the  UNDP’s  top  job15  and  she  has  been  mentioned  more  than  once  as  the  potential   successor  of  UN  secretary-­‐general  Ban  Ki-­‐Moon,  when  he  will  retire  in  2016.16  Since  2006  Forbes  ranks   her  among  “The  World’s  100  Most  Powerful  Women”.  She  thus  has  the  leverage  and  the  position  within   the   UNDP   to   push   through   new   ideas   and   policies.   When   asked   to   explain   why   resilience   had   also   become   the  subtitle  of  this  year’s  HDR,  Eva  Jespersen  refers  to  Helen  Clark’s  predilection  for  the  topic  and  her  view   on  the  notion,  as  made  public  during  lectures  at  Cambridge  and  Oxford.     Whatever   the   exact   reasons   for   the   adoption   of   resilience   within   the   UNDP   have   been,   Clark   has   been   instrumental   in   this.   And   it   bears   no   doubt   that   the   UNDP   is   desperately   looking   for   a   new   breath   and   renewed  legitimacy.    The  tagline  Empowered  lives,  resilient  nations  is  just  one  way  to  do  so.  Whether  this   choice  will  prove  instrumental  in  securing  future  donor  contributions  –if  this  has  been  the  goal  in  the  first   place–  remains  to  be  seen.  

How  does  the  UNDP  reframe  resilience?    

As   we   saw   above,   the   introduction   of   resilience   into   the   UNDP-­‐vocabulary   predates   the   2014   Human   Development  Report.  On  April  16,  2012  and  on  February  11,  2013  UNDP-­‐Administrator  Helen  Clark  has   given   two   lectures   on   resilience   within   the   UNDP   at   Cambridge   (UK)   and   Oxford   (UK)   respectively.   The   first  lecture  was  entitled  “Putting  Resilience  at  the  Heart  of  the  Development  Agenda”.17   During   the   second   lecture,   “Conflict   and   Development:   Inclusive   Governance,   Resilient   Societies”,   Clark   gave  the  following  definition.  “UNDP  sees  building  resilience  as  a  transformative  process  which  draws  on   the  innate  strength  of  individuals,  communities,  and  institutions  to  prevent,  mitigate  the  impacts  of,  and   learn  from  the  experience  of  different  types  of  shocks  –  whether  they  be  internal  or  external;  natural  or   man-­‐made;  economic,  political,  social,  or  other”.18   Whereas   most   definitions   of   resilience   depart   from   the   ability   of   absorbing   shocks   and   bouncing   back,   Clark  puts  transformation  first.  In  doing  so  she  explicitly  avoids  the  trap  of  framing  the  resilient  subject  as   someone   “who   must   permanently   struggle   to   accommodate   itself   to   the   world”   instead   of   “a   political   subject  that  can  conceive  of  changing  the  world”  (Reid  2013:  355).     The  UNDP  seems  thus  to  take  power  into  account,  even  politics  in  the  broad  sense  and  does  this  also  in   other   ways.   Before   even   dropping   the   word   resilience   in   her   speech,   Clark   first   mentions   the   notion   of   vulnerability.  The  2014  Human  Development  Report  is  also  subtitled  Reducing  Vulnerabilities  and  Building   Resilience,  thus  comprising  both  terms.     According  to  Béné  et  al.  (2012)  reframing  development  within  the  “guiding  paradigm”  of  resilience  only   would  be  damaging  for  development  as  a  whole.  Bringing   vulnerability  back  in,  together  with  resilience,   might   make   up   for   the   potential   loss,   since   vulnerability   has   “a   far   wider   range   of  concepts   and   tools   to   deal   with   people,   power   and   politics”   (Béné   et   al.   2012:   17).   Large   parts   of   this   years’   HDR   address   the   reasons  why  people  are  vulnerable,  rather  than  how  to  build  resilience.  In  doing  so,  the  authors  seem  to  

                                                                                                                 http://content.undp.org/go/newsroom/2009/april/helen-­‐clark-­‐sworn-­‐in-­‐as-­‐undp-­‐administrator.en  (Accessed  August  24,  2014)    UNDP  Brand  manual,  available  at   http://www.ba.undp.org/content/dam/bosnia_and_herzegovina/docs/UNDP%20logos/UNDP%20Brand%20Manual.pdf  (Accessed   August  23,  2014)   14  http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/operations/leadership/administrator.html  (Accessed  August  18,  2014)   15  http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/govt-­‐supports-­‐helen-­‐clark-­‐united-­‐nations-­‐role  (Accessed  August  23,  2014)   16  http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/27/will-­‐helen-­‐clark-­‐be-­‐first-­‐woman-­‐to-­‐run-­‐united-­‐nations  (Accessed   August  23,  2014)   17  Available  at  http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/speeches/2012/04/16/helen-­‐clark-­‐putting-­‐resilience-­‐ at-­‐the-­‐heart-­‐of-­‐the-­‐development-­‐agenda/  (Accessed  August  18,  2014)   18  Available  at  http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/speeches/2013/02/11/helen-­‐clark-­‐conflict-­‐and-­‐ development-­‐inclusive-­‐governance-­‐resilient-­‐societies/  (Accessed  August  18,  2014)   12 13




Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  


have  taken  at  heart  the  academics’  advice,  warning  that  “vulnerability  needs  to  be  front  and  central  in  any   resilience   paradigm”   (Béné   et   al.   2012:   17).   What   the   exact   link   is   between   both   “sibling   concepts”   is   unclear,  also  to  academics  (Manyena  2006,  Béné  et  al.  2012).  “A  useful  way  to  view  this  relationship  is  as   going  ‘from  vulnerability  to  resilience’”,  reads  the  report  but  this  obvious  link  is  not  really  expanded  on   (UNDP  2014a:  17).   The   other   important   problem  with   resilience   –being   vague,   not   measurable-­‐   is   not   really   countered   and   applies  besides  also  to  the  much  older  concept  of  vulnerability.  In  a  box  at  the  beginning  of  its  report,  the   HDR   reviews   the   work   done   on   measuring   vulnerability   and   concludes   by   saying   not   one   measurement   described   seems   to   be   capable   of   assessing   the   “broad   systemic   vulnerability”   the   Report   focuses   on.   In   2010  the  Human  Development  Report  introduced  the  Multidimensional  Poverty  Index  and  the  Inequality-­‐ adjusted   HDI,   on   top   of   the   already   existing   HDR-­‐indices.19   Surprisingly   or   not,   this   years’   report   does   not   come  up  with  a  new  index  for  resilience  nor  vulnerability.  Instead  of  introducing  again  another  index  or   measure,   it   prefers   “instead   to   focus   on   embedding   vulnerability   firmly   within   the   human   development   approach”,   thereby   reaffirming   the   validity   of   its   past   work   on   poverty   and   inequality   and   implicitly   acquiescing   that   neither   resilience,   nor   vulnerability   add   much   to   the   development   practice   in   terms   of   measurable  outputs  (UNDP  2014a:  28).       This   paper   does   not   pretend   to   dissect   the   intricacies   of   UNDP’s   use   of   resilience,   but   hints   at   some   important  criticisms  brought  up  by  literature  and  tackled  or  not  in  this  year’s  report  framing  of  resilience.   A   criticism   that   HDR   rightly   counters,   is   the   fact   that   policy   makers   and   the   broad   audience   using   the   notion   put   too   much   stress   on   adaptability,   and   too   little   on   stability.   The   title   of   the   article   in   TIME   Magazine   claiming   resilience   was   going   to   be   the   2013   buzzword,   is   illustrative   for   this   distortion:   “Adapt   or   die:   why   the   environmental   buzzword   of   2013   will   be   resilience?”20.   But   one   is   oft   inventive   out   of   necessity.   As   soon   as   humans   have   the   chance,   they   predominantly   try   to   consolidate   the   little   stability   they  have  gained  (housing,  salary,  health...).  This  human  need  has  been  well  taken  into  account  by  many   resilient   theorists,   stressing   stability   as   a   pre-­‐requisite   for   building   up   adaptive   and/or   transformative   capacity.     Still   this   protective   component   of   resilience   is   often   negated   by   policymakers   in   favour   of   the   “preventative,   promotional   and   transformational   measures”   (Béné   et   al.   2012:   42).   Not   so   by   the   HDR,   that   stresses   “horizontal   inequalities”   as   major   source   of   vulnerability   and   repeats   the   importance   of   “comprehensive   social   protection”.   “Helping   vulnerable   groups   and   reducing   inequality   are   essential   to   sustaining  development  both  now  and  across  generations”  (Malik  2014).     Besides  the  fact  that  the  2014  HDR  tackles  important  criticisms  scholars  usually  have,  it  is  interesting  to   see   which   policies   the   HDR   puts   forward,   since   this   nuances   Reid’s   claim   (2013),   who   contends   resilience   is  co-­‐opted  by  neoliberal  governance.     In   his   speech   at   the   launch   of   the   Report,   lead   author   Khalid   Malik   stressed   that   not   only   individual   capabilities   (health,   education,   income,   personal   security),   social   position   but   also   “inadequate   policies   and   poor   social   institutions”   account   for   vulnerabilities   (Malik   2014).   In   his   view,   the   two   principles   underlying   human   development   are   “putting   people   first”   –the   traditional   adagio   of   the   UNDP-­‐   and   “universalism”.   Instead   of   using   resilience   to   out-­‐manoeuvre   public   entities,   UNDP   defends   state-­‐led   policies  to  guarantee  everyone’s  rights  to  “education,  health  care  and  other  basic  services”  (Malik  2014).   The   report   hails   the   importance   of   social   welfare   systems,   redistribution   policies,   full   employment,   “decent  jobs  for  all”  and  demands  a  more  fair  international  governance,  to  secure  public  goods  (including   universal   social   protection   and   an   effective   climate   regime)   (UNDP   2014a:   111-­‐112).   The   report   adds   further  on  that  “markets  are  ill-­‐equipped  to  provide”  these  public  goods  (UNDP  2014a:  115).       Whether   the   subtitle   has   been   merely   a   PR-­‐operation   to   please   donors,   while   the   report   itself   remains   faithful  to  UNDP’s  traditional  developmental  discourse,  is  up  to  discussion.  At  any  rate  the  content  of  the   2014  HDR  is  a  clear  denial  of  resilience  being  only  co-­‐opted  by  neoliberalism.  



 http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/human-­‐development-­‐index-­‐hdi  (Accessed  August  18,  2014)  

20  http://science.time.com/2013/01/08/adapt-­‐or-­‐die-­‐why-­‐the-­‐environmental-­‐buzzword-­‐of-­‐2013-­‐will-­‐be-­‐resilience/

(Accessed  August  18,  2014)  



Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  


What  is  the  impact  of  the  2014  Human  Development  Report?     We  have  seen  above  how  the  HDR  seeks  to  consider  how  resilience  can  be  viewed  and  applied  through  a   human   development   lens.   We   will   now   try   to   assess   what   might   be   the   impact   of   this   reframing   on   the   broader  development  community.   It  is  too  early  and  it  is  not  the  scope  of  this  paper  to  examine  in  detail  how  UNDP’s  reading  of  resilience   might  impact  the  development  community  as  a  whole.  That  would  require  much  more  thorough  analysis,   not  in  the  least  inter-­‐textual  discourse  analysis.  The  impact  of  the  UN  development  agencies  and  the  office   responsible  for  writing  the  HDR  in  particular  is  surely  far  from  negligible.  It  might  suffice  here  to  refer  to   the   UNDP   report   to   the   Executive   Board   on   the   development   of   the   2011   Human   Development   Report.   This   document   shows   the   efforts   undertaken   “to   systematically   engage   with   policymakers,   leading   academics   and   other   opinion   leaders   in   Member   States”,   via   high-­‐level   panels,   meetings,   events,   conferences  and  consultations  as  well  as  media  coverage.  The  2011  Report  generated  for  example  some   2,000  news  articles  online  (UN  2012).     By  definition,  development  cooperation  is  a  largely  multilateral  affair  and  national  development  actors  are   always   heavily   influenced   by   what   is   said   and   done   in   other   countries   and   by   leading   players.   True,   in   comparison   to   official   bilateral   cooperation,   representing   two-­‐thirds   of   all   aid   flows,   multilateral   aid   is   relatively   small   (Develtere   2012:   97).   Moreover,   in   terms   of   money,   the   European   development   community  is  much  bigger  than  the  UN  multilateral  organisations.  “While  Europe  has  been  expanding  its   aid,   the   United   Nations   system   has   been   slimmed   down.   In   2007,   UN   agencies   provided   less   than   four   percent   of   total   ODA.   IDA,   other   multilateral   development   banks   and   the   IMF   through   its   Poverty   Reduction   and   Growth   Facility   provided   an   additional   ten   percent.   That   compares   with   1985,   when   UN   organizations  and  the  development  banks  represented  just  under  one  quarter  of  total  ODA”  (Kharas  2007:   4).     Still,  the  UN  galaxy  is  more  than  hard  cash.  The  UNDP  also  provide  technical  assistance,  policy  advice  to   national   governments   or   institutions   and   helps   to   build   consensus,   e.g.   around   the   Millennium   Development   Goals   (MDGs).   UNDP’s   total   staff   is   estimated   around   6,400   (with   over   1,100   in   New   York   and   about   5,300   in   field   operations).21   From   the   start   the   United   Nations   Development   Programme   (UNDP)  has  been  regarded,  together  with  UNICEF,  the  World  Bank  group  and  the  International  Monetary   Fund  (IMF)  as  the  main  specialists  in  development  (Develtere  2012:  33).     As   mentioned   at   the   beginning   of   this   paper,   the   yearly   Human   Development   Report   has   had   and   still   seems  to  have  a  relatively  big  impact.  Although  all  statistics  collected  by  UN  agencies  mandated  to  do  so   originate  ultimately  in  the  countries’  institutions  themselves,  the  compilation  and  use  of  the  stats  in  the   yearly   report,   for   example,   are   awaited   with   anxiety   by   the   respective   countries.   Jan   Vandemoortele   recalls   how,   while   being   UNDP’s   country   representative   in   Pakistan,   he   was   summoned   by   the   prime   minister   after   the   publication   of   the   2005   report.   “Pakistan   dropped   one   place   in   the   HDI   ranking.   That   was  just  half  of  the  story.  Worse,  India  had  risen  one  place.  The  prime  minister  was  not  pleased  at  all,  as   he  made  very  clear  that  our  data  were  completely  wrong”  (Vandemoortele  2014).   This   rather   negative   example   illustrates   the   weight   countries   attribute   to   the   publication   of   the   UNDP-­‐ report.  Eva  Jespersen  gives  other  arguments  for  not  discarding  it  as  a  paper  without  power.  It  urges  actors   worldwide  to  adopt  a  human  development  lens  when  looking  at  development.  Moreover  the  global  report   has   given   rise   to   hundreds   of   national   and   sub-­‐nationals   spinoffs.   “There   have   been   around   700   reports   state   and   sub   state   level   reports   since   1992.   These   are   not   done   in   New   York   or   by   the   regional   UNDP-­‐ offices,   but   in   the   countries   themselves,   often   steered   by   the   governments   although   with   guidance   and   collaboration  of  UNDP  country  offices.  A  Turkish  human  development  report  some  years  ago  on  youth  is   associated  with    the  government  set  up  a  youth  advisory  council.  Some  of  these  reports  really  have  caught   the  national,  you  can  call  it,  imagination  or  interest”  (Jespersen  2014,  personal  communication).  

                                                                                                                21  U.N.  Development  Programme  Plans  Lay-­‐Offs,  Salary  Cuts  and  Demotions,  IPS,  30  May  2014.  Available  at   http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/05/undp-­‐plans-­‐lay-­‐offs-­‐salary-­‐cuts-­‐and-­‐demotions/  (Accessed  August  14,  2014)    



Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  


The  pros  of  UNDP’s  resilience     If  we  are  to  assume  that  the  adoption  and  reframing  of  resilience  as  presented  in  the  Human  Development   Report  has  an  influence  on  the  development  community,  does  one  need  to  worry  or  rather  welcome  again   another  take  on  resilience?   What   strikes   in   this   report   is   the   nearly   complete   absence   of   the   Millennium   Development   Goals   or   the   Sustainable  Development  Goals,  supposed  to  be  the  successor  at  the  turn  of  2015-­‐2016.  This  seems  a  pity.   The  Millennium  Development  Goals  have  the  advantage  to  be  comprehensible,  accessible  and  measurable,   while  resilience  is  often  vilified  for  being  too  vague,  not  measurable  or  if  measured,  neglecting  important   factors   of   risk   and   vulnerability   (Levine   2012).   In   other   words,   donors   cannot   be   held   accountable   for   their  efforts  in  improving  resilience,  if  at  least  resilience  can  be  built  up  in  the  first  place.     We   argue   that   one   should   not   be   overly   critical   about   the   vagueness   of   resilience   nor   overestimate   the   value   of   measurability   in   development   cooperation.   In   contrast   to   the   SDGs   that   are   being   drafted   now,   who   by   their   sheer   number22   might   garner   little   public   support,   the   MDGs   had   indeed   the   benefit   of   being   simple,  limited  in  number,  understandable  and  measurable.  Still,  most  of  them  have  not  been  met  and  will   most   likely   not   be   achieved   in   2015.   We   will   not   expand   on   the   reasons   why  –   this   is   not   the   scope   of   this   paper–   but   we   would   like   to   question   the   use   of   measurability   and   stress   the   potential   of   vague   buzzwords,  likely  to  act  as  brokers.   Let   us   illustrate   this   ex   negativo   by   referring   to   the   use   of   logical   frameworks.   Exactly   as   logframes   in   development   projects   might   become   lock   frames   (Gasper   2000:   21)   when   they   are   too   rigidly   handled,   measurable  goals  that  are  put  on  paper  and  serve  as  a  yardstick  for  action,  without  sufficient  debate  about   them,   are   often   doomed   to   fail   or   can   work   contra-­‐productively.   Resilience   in   our   view   has   a   bigger   potential  as  a  bridging  concept,  as  “an  idea  that  could  draw  together  apparently  distinct  policy  domains,   and   unite   very   different   interests   behind   a   common   agenda”   (Meadowcroft   2000:   371).   Discussing   less   syncretised  and  more  general  buzzwords,  helps  to  open  discussion  about  common  goals,  the  aims,  and  the   daily   workings   within   the   development   community   and   also   leaves   the   possibility   to   fund   domains   that   can  be  boxed  with  difficulty  within  e.g.  logframes.   In   the   same   line,   the   notion   of   resilience   breaks   through   the   traditional   development   paradigm,   which   implies   an   asymmetrical   relationship   between   developed   and   developing   countries.   Development   cooperation   still   departs   from   one-­‐way-­‐aid   relationship,   even   if   the   term   international   cooperation   has   been   increasingly   replacing   it   since   the   1990’s.   In   our   view,   building   resilience,   much   more   than   development   cooperation,   allows   to   see   linkages   between   citizens   worldwide   and   foster   some   kind   of   global   citizenship.   Citizens   might   then   more   easily   recognize   similar   and   even   global   challenges   to   resilience   –   crawling   social   welfares   systems,   to   name   just   one,   or   climate   change.   Whereas   this   global   kinship  does  not  per  se  lead  to  a  fight  for  global  justice,  in  some  areas  we  see  this  happening  still.  The  food   sovereignty   movement   –in   a   way   building   on   the   earlier   dependency   theory   (Pieterse   2001:   151)–   is   a   good  example.  The  movement  contends  that  public  ownership  of  food  systems  makes  them  and  citizens   worldwide   more   resilient.     “The   emerging   food   sovereignty   movement   is   piecing   together   common   ground   among   diverse   groups,   tapping   into   the   needs   and   concerns   of   small-­‐scale   farmers,   anti-­‐hunger   activists,  peasant  federations  and  middle-­‐class  consumers  worried  about  health  and  food  quality”  (Miller   et   al.   2006:   8).   Consumers   and   small   farmers   worldwide   link   up   to   fight   for   the   cause   of   food   sovereignty,   because  they  see  the  resilience  of  their  food  and  the  crops  they’re  fed  on  reduced.  Vandana  Shiva,  a  well-­‐ known   Indian   environmental   activist,   is   one   of   them.   Her   seminal   work   Law   of   the   Seed   explicitly   uses   the   notion  of  resilience:  “While  farmers  breed  for  diversity,  corporations  breed  for  uniformity.  While  farmers   breed  for  resilience,  corporations  breed  vulnerability”  (Navdanya  International  2013:  6).  This  is  just  one   example  of  how  potentially  powerful  alliances  might  arise  using  resilience  as  a  rallying  cry,  whereas  this   might  be  more  difficult  when  one  puts  forward  measurable  “developmental”  goals.  



22  http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/4438mgscompilationowg13.pdf  (Accessed  August  27,   2014)  



Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  


Some  dangers  of  the  buzzword  resilience     Whereas  the  above  mentioned  example  and  the  2014  Human  Development  Report  itself  proves  the  notion   of   resilience   can   be   a   bridging   concept   for   all   creeds   of   development   actors,   this   fuzziness   has   also   a   flipside,  not  in  the  least  because  of  the  high  visibility  of  the  HDR.     This  risk  is  not  typical  of  resilience.  Development  discourse  is  full  of  buzzwords,  that  change,  come  and  go:   “participation”,   “empowerment”,   “poverty   reduction”   are   some   of   them.   A   buzzword   has   performative   effects,   shapes   policy   and   practice,   but   is   also   lacking   a   clear   definition.   It   clouds   meanings   and   often   restricts  the  boundaries  of  thought  (Cornwall  &  Brock  2005,  Cornwall  &  Eade  2010).       One  of  the  dangers  of  resilience  is  more  in  particular  that  the  sophistication  of  the  technical  definition  is   obliterated  by  the  policy  and  most  certainly  by  the  public  discourse  around  the  notion.  This  is  normal  for   any   jargon,   but   in   this   case   the   risk   is   much   higher,   since   everybody   has   a   more   or   less   intuitive   understanding  of  the  concept.  “In  particular  when  resilience  enters  public  policy  debates  it  has  all  sorts  of   connotations  from  its  more  everyday  meaning  and  usage  –  of  rigidity,  stoicism,  self-­‐sacrifices-­‐  that  many   resilience   theorists   would   argue   are   not   what   is   capture   in   the   technical   concept   of   resilience”   (Béné   et   al.   2012:  45).     In   other   words   resilience   appeals   also   to   notions   and   attitudes   that   rather   reduce   than   foster   (global)   solidarity.  Resilience  theory  is  a  recognition  of  our  ignorance:  "Not  the  assumption  that  future  events  are   expected,   but   that   they   will   be   unexpected"   (Walker   &   Cooper   2011:   146).   Assuming   everything   is   unpredictable   might   impede   action   and   attempts   to   better   lives   globally.   By   stressing   the   need   for   resilience   amongst   the   poor,   we   might   not   only   fall   into   the   “vulnerability-­‐resilience   paradox”   (Adger   2006   in   Coulthard   2012),23   but   also   give   up   the   ambition   to   really   plan,   direct   the   development   of   our   planet.  We  would  not  go  as  far  as  saying  that  resilience  means  the  end  of  development,  tacitly  recognizing   “that   ‘development’   for   the   post-­‐colonial   poor   now   consists   not   in   achieving   First   World   standards   of   urban  affluence  but  in  surviving”  (Walker  &  Cooper  2011:  155).       But   we   do   think   that   when   facing   budget   austerity,   resilience   might   serve   as   an   excuse   to   de-­‐invest   in   development  or  re-­‐align  funds  differently.  This  brings  us  to  the  possible  abuse  of  the  notion  by  politicians,   when   having   to   decide   on   the   allocation   of   public   money.   One   could   wonder   whether   these   ideological   discussions   are   that   important.   The   aid   sector   excels   in   diversity   and   lack   of   coordination,   notwithstanding  the  genuine  efforts  that  have  been  made,  as  the  Paris  Declaration.  If  so,  many  actors  with   a   broad   range   of   organisational   forms,   approaches,   practices   and   ideas   wander   through   aid   land,   will   a   concept   as   resilience   make   any   big   difference   on   the   ground?   They   might   take   upon   the   new   buzzword   to   please  donors,  constituencies,  or  supporters.  But  would  their  way  of  working,  their  do’s  and  don’ts  change   overnight.  Are  humans  not  in  the  end  pretty  resilient  or  even  resistant  to  change?  We  would  argue  that   even   if   the   link   between   discourse   and   the   actual   development   practice   is   much   more   complex   and   the   result   of   negotiations   at   different   levels,   discourse   no   doubt   plays   an   important   role.   We   stress   that   the   more  vague  the  terms  used,  the  more  manoeuvre  politicians  have  to  fill  in  the  concept  of  development  as   they   think   fit.   Robin   Broad’s   account   of   the   knowledge   management   of   the   World   Bank   clearly   demonstrates   how   buzzwords   are   used   to   make   “truth”   fit   a   particular   worldview   (Cornwall   &   Eade   2010:   293-­‐303).     Another   example   of   how   a   buzzword   helped   to   shape   policy   and   clouded   political   choices   comes   from   the   United   States,   when   after   9/11   security   became   a   top   priority   (Lancaster   2008).     Since   9/11   and   the   raising   awareness   about   climate   change,   new   programmes   have   gained   much   more   attention,   such   as   crisis   prevention,   conflict   transformation,   security   and   even   prevention   of   terrorism.   The   Bush   administration   increasingly   integrated   the   U.S.   Agency   for   International   Development   (USAID)   into   the   State   Department,   to   align   development   with   Condoleezza   Rice’s   approach   of   “transformational   diplomacy”   and   the   Pentagon   started   financing   large   parts   of   U.S.   foreign   aid   (Lancaster   2008:   viii).   The   security-­‐paradigm   in   other   words   allowed   the   US   to   increasingly   channel   development   funds   to   the   military  and  to  goals  that  were  not  commonly  assumed  to  be  developmental.  While  this  realignment  met   with   protests,   the   framing   of   the   then   geopolitical   context   in   terms   of   security   and   prevention   made   it   possible.  


23  This  paradox  asserts  that  high  vulnerability  can  sometimes  accompany  greater  resilience.  



Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  


Having   said   this,   development   cooperation   has   always   been   a   tool   of   foreign   policy   and   is   as   much   inspired  by  ideals  of  helping  one  another,  as  by  strategic,  geopolitical,  economical  and  other  motivations.   In   China’s   view,   aid   is   just   one   tool   out   of   a   big   box   destined   to   foster   economic   expansion   and   development   (Taylor   2009,   Brautigam   2009).   In   its   wake,   Western   donors   have   lost   some   shame   to   admit   so,  hereby  aided  by  the  aid  fatigue  and  aid  effectiveness  in  discussions  that  have  been  rife  in  the  last  ten   years.     But   buzzwords   only   make   the   democratic   deficit   worse   and   further   the   lack   of   accountability   towards   cabinet,   parliament,   public   opinion   or   even   the   sector.   The   fuzziness   of   the   term   resilience   gives   much   manoeuvre   to   realign   aid   funds   in   ways   they   were   originally   not   meant   and   thus   deconstruct   the   traditional  “development”  aid.    

Conclusions     The   UNDP   has   done   a   laudable   effort   in   fighting   the   fuzziness   of   the   buzzword   resilience,   in   stating   that   resilience   ultimately   originates,   in   social   welfare   systems,   in   healthy   citizens   nourished   sufficiently   at   a   young   age,   in   public   goods   secured   by   global   governance.   In   reframing   the   debate,   the   2014   Human   Development   Report   invites   the   development   community   to   centre   the   debate   on   concrete   policies,   one   can   be   held   accountable   for.   This   year’s   report   also   shows   resilience   does   not   have   to   play   into   neoliberalism.     Still,   we   fear   that   the   content   of   this   report   and   the   public   statements   made   by   Helen   Clark   might   fade   way.  Tomorrow  anyone  could  invoke  UNDP’s  authority  and  even  without  this  stamp  of  approval  for  the   notion  of  resilience,  the  mere  fact  that  again  another  report  has  used  the  notion,  adds  weight  to  it.     The   same   happened   with   the   first   Millennium   Development   Goal,   which   once   tabled,   notwithstanding   much   outrage,   made   it   into   the   final   list.   Ashwani   Saith   described   in   detail   how   the   idea   of   eradicating   poverty   was   for   the   first   time   brought   up   at   the   social   summit   in   Copenhagen   and   met   with   much   discontent.   The   OECD’s   Development   Assistance   Committee   (DAC)   nevertheless   picked   it   up   again   in   1996.  Meanwhile  civil  society  organisations  amongst  others  kept  on  protesting,  Reduce  extreme  poverty  by   half  made  it  as  one  of  the  eight  MDGs  (Saith  2006:  1170).     Like  a  snowball  rolling  from  the  hills,  notwithstanding  some  pines  in  its  way,  the  idea  had  grown  so  big   that  it  went  unquestioned  in  the  end.  It  is  not  unthinkable  that  resilience  will  gain  so  much  credibility  that   it  will  be  used  and  abused  by  elites  in  power,  going  unquestioned  and  without  much  regard  to  the  fairly   broad  and  multidimensional  definitions  we  found  in  the  2014  Human  Development  Report.    




Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  


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Paper  Master  of  Cultures  and  Development  Studies  (CADES)  at  KU  Leuven  Belgium  –  Copyright  Stefaan  Anrys,  2014  –  unpublished  


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