The Resilience workshop is the first of a series of events dedicated to Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction. The second one (Economics of Natural Disaster) will take place in February 2011. The events are organised by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in cooperation with the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change and  International Center on Climate Governance.

Over the past decades, the European Union witnessed a striking increase in the losses caused by natural, particularly hydro-meteorological disasters. Every year large areas of Europe are hit by droughts and/or floods, directly or indirectly affecting many communities and economic sectors. The climate change induced alteration of rainfall patter (form, intensity and timing of rainfall) will have significant effects on water availability and frequency of extreme events, thus causing additional social and economic hardship.

With natural disasters wrecking havoc all over the world, recently in Russia and Pakistan, resilience is gaining momentum both in risk research and policy communities. It has been converted into a symbol for endurance and a staying power, an emblem of sustainable societies. A symbol that we strive to turn into a guidance for better disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies.  With some success but still far from convincing.

Many have tried to pin down what the resilience is or should be, and how to measure and promote it. Intuitively, more than anything else, resilience is a knowledge. A proficient understanding of the disaster risk, its driving forces and impacts. Knowing how to prepare, respond and recover from disaster strikes. More than that, resilience is a capacity to deploy that knowledge. To help oneself to get back to the feet after having sustained a hit. To learn how to. Paraphrasing Reinhold Niebuhr’s poignant message, resilience is a wisdom of knowing how to put a stop to natural hazards turning into devastating disasters, and a wisdom of enduring risks that cannot be avoided.

Resilience refers to the capacity of the system to absorb disturbances and reorganize, while undergoing changes to retain essentially the same function, structure, and identity. Resilience co-determine the magnitude of the economic losses and the community ability to respond to, cope with, and recover from significant disruptions. Both »economic« and »social« resilience are malleable concepts with many different and inconsistent definitions. Although important for designing effective disaster risk reduction strategies, a widely accepted operationalisation of the concept is not available.

A number of applied, policy-relevant research projects have been initiated to fill this gap. Some of these projects are listed further below. The scope of the workshop is to bring together the scholars from diverse fields, both natural and social sciences, working on practical policy application of the concept under EU Flood Risk Management Directive, EU Drought policy, and EU Disaster Preparedness and Prevention initiatives.

For further information, please visit the workshop webpage


*** Closed-door Workshop ***