The debate on the definition of resilience amongst scientists of dryland systems is not one to end anytime soon.
Annette Cowie, a principal research scientist, Climate in NSW Department of Primary Industries is the latest commentator on the newly-published work by scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) working on adaptions and resilience under the framework of the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems. Cowie who also serves as the land degradation advisor on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility and is a member of the Science Policy Interface of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) notes that instead of seeking agreement on a common definition, we should simply accept that the concept of resilience is defined differently be different people and that these differences do matter.
She argues that resilience is not always desirable, depending on whose definition one employee.
For example, according to Resilience Alliance:
“Resilience is desirable if the system in question is performing well.But if the system is in an undesirable condition – an eroded landscape, an impoverished malnourished community, a household with few assets to buffer against ill-fortune – and it is resilient, then, by definition, it will be harder to change the system to a more desirable state. Such a system requires transformation, but transformation of a poorly-performing system will be more difficult if it has high resilience”
She proposes three ways in which to cope with the quandary thrown by this definition of resilience. To find out, read the full blog here.