In recent years, humanitarian needs have grown at an alarming rate. The number of people dependent on humanitarian assistance has more than tripled while the cost of responding has increased five-fold.1 Every source of evidence suggests that human and economic losses, particularly due to climate change, will only continue to grow. If we continue a business-as-usual approach of crisis and crisisresponse, we will not be able to manage the increasing scale of the challenges. We need a paradigm shift in the way we work with communities at risk – and to act preventively to reduce exposure, vulnerability and impact at local level.
For Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies, fostering community resilience is the answer. It empowers communities to shape their lives and create a safe, healthy and prosperous future. Resilience is not something that can be brought to or built for communities. Strengthening resilience at every level is a participatory journey led by its beneficiaries: it requires a new mind-set that focuses more sharply on accompanying, enabling and connecting communities as they grapple with complex challenges. In these respects, strengthening resilience differs dramatically from the conventional model of humanitarian assistance.
For the IFRC, the concept of community resilience encapsulates all we aim to achieve. Numerous National Societies have sought to strengthen community resilience for many decades, even if their efforts have not been described in those terms.
The Global Community Resilience Forum (Cali, November 2014) and World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (Sendai, March 2015) marked important milestones in our journey towards a resilient world. In Cali, National Societies launched the One Billion Coalition for Resilience (1BC).
The IFRC has developed this Road Map to Community Resilience to provide National Societies with step-by-step guidance on how to support communities on their journey. It will help communities to take specific steps to strengthen their resilience and advance the goal of 1BC, which is to build, scale up and implement resilience partnerships led at community level.
The call to address the world’s escalating humanitarian concerns is both timely and pertinent. The goal of 1BC is to build a truly global coalition of individuals, communities, businesses, international organizations and governments. It seeks to mobilize our collective networks, and our ability to work at scale and coordinate our shared resources. Local communities and National Societies are the central agents of change in this process and it is our hope that the Road Map to Community Resilience will support their leadership on this path.
Under Secretary General, Programme and Operations
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies