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Building Resilience to Recurrent Crisis: USAID Policy and Program Guidance

Manual and Guideline
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USAID launches policy and program guidance on building resilience to recurrent crisis

For Immediate Release
Monday, December 3, 2012
USAID Press Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah announced the launch of the Agency’s first-ever policy and program guidance on Building Resilience to Recurrent Crisis during an event in Washington DC. Dr. Shah was joined by a distinguished panel of guests, including His Excellency Ambassador Elkanah Odembo, Kenyan Ambassador to the United States; The Honorable Jim McGovern (D-MA); Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at the National Security Council; David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World; Neal Keny-Guyer, CEO of Mercy Corps; and Carolyn Woo, President & CEO of Catholic Relief Services.

In 2011, the widespread suffering seen across the Horn of Africa and Sahel revealed that in far too many places, too many communities, families, and individuals consistently rely on humanitarian assistance just to survive. Chronic poverty and recurring shocks drive the same communities into crisis year after year, undermining development gains. In response to this clear need, and together with our international development partners, USAID has committed, through this policy and program guidance, to better coordinate its development and humanitarian approaches to effectively build resilience in targeted areas of recurrent crisis. USAID will still maintain both the lifesaving speed of humanitarian assistance and the longer-term focus of development assistance; however, through this guidance, the Agency is working to ensure that humanitarian relief and development experts work together to better plan and program to build resilience and help vulnerable communities move from cycles of crisis to a pathway toward development.

“We are committed to undertaking these efforts because we believe they will strengthen our ability to save and improve lives. No one should have to face the crippling circumstances we have seen in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel over the past year. Through building resilience, we can help prevent that desperation, save lives, and create the conditions where families and communities can prosper,” said Administrator Shah.

Through this collaboration, USAID seeks to achieve specific results to build resilience for vulnerable populations: increased adaptive capacity; improved ability to address and reduce risk as well as mitigate and recover from shocks and stresses; and improved social and economic conditions. Over the long-term, USAID intends for these efforts to collectively contribute to reduced humanitarian need.

With mandates to provide both humanitarian assistance and longer-term development assistance, USAID possesses a broad range of institutional capacities that can be used to build resilience and ensure a more efficient application of resources to save and improve lives. This policy and program guidance leverages the Agency’s comparative advantage and joins a series of recent USAID policies and strategies that guide the Agency on important issues such as education, gender equality, climate change, violent extremism and youth in development.