Soon: A new USAID policy on resilience

Nancy Lindborg, assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Photo by: U.S. Embassy New Zealand / CC BY-ND

The U.S. Agency for International Development is set to unveil Dec. 3 a new policy on resilience. It comes amid climate change talks in Doha, Qatar, where there’s mounting interest on whether the United States will step up its commitment to addressing climate change.

USAID Assistant Administrator Nancy Lindborg offered hints into what the new policy hopes to specifically achieve in a conversation with Devex President Raj Kumar at the 2012 European Development Days in Brussels. Watch the interview here.

Resilience has been a buzzword among many donors and nongovernmental organizations, although many have been criticized for not fully grasping its meaning which should not be limited to just providing food, according to a report in July commissioned by World Vision and Save the Children. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah referred to the term as “preparing communities in advance and helping them prevail afterwards” in an op-ed piece for Rio+Solutions in June, published by Devex.

The new policy is USAID’s response to “chronic poverty and recurring shocks” that are “driving the same communities into crisis year after year, undermining development gains,” according to a press release. It will be launched at a high-level event to be attended by leaders of organizations pushing for the concept in the field, including David Beckmann of Bread for the World, Jim McGovern of Mercy Corps and Carolyn Woo of Catholic Relief Services.

It remains to be seen how this new policy would figure in the United States’ position on climate change. While Shah said in the op-ed that “droughts are becoming more frequent, hitting vulnerable communities harder, and creating more hunger emergencies than ever before” due to climate change, the United States has not subscribed the Kyoto Protocol, which imposes legally binding emissions targets to developed countries.

Devex is planning a webinar on USAID’s new resilience policy in December. Stay tuned for more details.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.