Measuring resilience - challenges and opportunities for sustainability

Image credits: Jim Wileman and Stockholm Resilience Centre

As part of ongoing work investigating how prosperity should be measured, IEEP’s Green Economy Programme examined the concept of “resilience”. The concept is increasingly being applied in Europe and internationally to a range of policy areas, including development aid, climate change, and fiscal policy, reflecting the need to tackle uncertainties, pressures and fragility in our social, economic and environmental systems. However, the dynamic and multi-faceted nature of resilience implies that developing indicators and metrics to assess it is challenging and at times counterproductive. For the purpose of the autumn Beyond GDP Newsletter, the team interviewed two leading academics, asking how resilience can be built, measured and assessed.

Rob Hopkins discussed his work in establishing the Transition Network. The network, present in more than 50 countries, focuses on local initiatives which build resilience from the bottom up. Garry Peterson, Professor of Sustainability Science at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, explained his work in resilience assessment and the difficulties of measuring it. He led research for the Arctic Council’s Arctic Resilience Report, which attempts to assess the status of resilience across the Arctic, recognising the diverse socio-ecological value of the region, but also its fragility. Read the full interview here.

Follow the link to subscribe to the Beyond GDP newsletter which explores the efforts and limitations of building and measuring resilience in Europe across different policy areas, as well as example of metrics quantifying resilience.

For more information on IEEP’s work on indicators please contact Jean-Pierre Schweitzer, Marianne Kettunen and Susanna Gionfra.