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Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies in Asia and the Pacific

People across the Asia-Pacific region live with diverse and interlinked risks. These risks are related to increasingly severe and complex shocks to the political, social, economic and ecological systems that underpin human development. The impacts of such shocks often fall disproportionately on the most marginalized groups and communities, and so have the potential to undermine the region’s potential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The region’s resilience must be tapped more effectively to deal with this complex risk landscape. Resilience enables individuals, communities and systems to survive, adapt and grow in the face of stress and shocks; to convert risks into opportunities; and to transform when conditions require it. The actions required to strengthen resilience can be understood in terms of inter-related and complementary resilience capacities: • Anticipatory capacity: the ability of human systems to anticipate and reduce the impact of shocks through preparedness and planning • Absorptive capacity: the ability of human systems to absorb and cope with the impacts of shocks and stresses. • Adaptive capacity: the ability of human systems to change in response to multiple, long-term and future risks, and to learn and adjust after a shock materializes. • Transformative capacity: the ability to take deliberate steps to change systems that create risks, vulnerability and/ or inequality. This report presents a three-step approach for incorporating resilience thinking into policymaking to build resilience capacity. The approach: (1) identifies risks; (2) explores the potential impacts on human systems and vulnerable groups; and (3) identifies policies and institutional responses that build these resilience capacities. The application of the three-step approach in the case of food systems reveals the emerging risks of climate change and demographic changes to these systems. For example, 73 per cent of food commodity trade networks in the Asia-Pacific region exhibited signs of weakening resilience in 1986–2013, and the report identifies policy options to strengthen the resilience capacities of food systems.
Author: United Nations; Asian Development Bank; United Nations Development Programme
Language: English
Pubished By: United Nations, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme
Pubished date: March 2018

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