This term has many different definitions that apply to specific contexts. Different definitions of “resilience” include “the ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb accommodate to and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner” (UNISDR), or “the ability of a social or ecological system to absorb disturbances while retaining the same basic structure and ways of functioning, the capacity for self-organisation, and the capacity to adapt to stress and change” (IPCC), or alternatively “the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change” (Resilience Alliance).
According to—“the resilience of communities is particularly important in protracted crises, during and after violent conflicts, and whenever state institutions and the systems through which livelihoods normally operate (e.g. markets) are weak and ineffective” (FAO). Despite variances among definitions for “resilience” most have two common elements: (1) capacity to bounce back after a shock and (2) capacity to adapt to a changing environment. Building resilience requires building support and networks between and among individuals, communities and governments, in order to transform policy into action and assist in recovery.
In housing and land rights, resilience refers to the capability of a person, household or community to recuperate after a shock or crisis involving the loss of, or damage to home or landed property, and/or displacement from a habitual residence.
For more information on this term, see the brief produced by the High-Level Expert Forum on Food Insecurity in Protracted Crises, released in September 2012.