Risk & Resilience

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Affordable and reliable access to infrastructure is critical for development, with major implications for health, education, social mobility, firm productivity, climate change, energy, forests and biodiversity. But access alone is not enough. What we really need is sustainable infrastructure. Sustainable infrastructure will provide the services and foundation for growth that are needed to reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity – but to get there, we must substantially increase financing for infrastructure in the developing world.
Michael Mullan leads the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) work on climate change adaptation, including analysis of adaptation policies in OECD countries, integrating adaptation into development assistance, and cross-cutting economic issues. He will be presenting his recent research, ‘Climate-resilient Infrastructure: Getting the policies right’ at the Fifth GGKP Annual Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure, hosted by the World Bank in November 2017.
To mark the launch of the GREEN-WIN website, Dr. Jochen Hinkel, Coordinator of the GREEN-WIN Project, explains how the project will further research targeted at uncovering win-win opportunities - i.e. those that are economically attractive for individual countries, regions and firms, which also contribute to climate goals.

According to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, resilience is the ability of a system, community or society to resist, absorb, accommodate and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, while preserving its essential basic structures and functions. Humankind faces a growing number of risks – climate change, conflict, depletion of natural resources, natural disasters, economic crisis, epidemic diseases – and other risk factors such as urbanisation and ageing populations. Because of the interconnected nature of such risks and the recognition that they often cannot be eliminated entirely, the integration of resilience into development planning has become essential.

In the context of green growth, resilience can be strengthened by multiple channels: economic diversification, ecosystem preservation, energy security, sustainable production and consumption, resource efficiency and increased resources for dealing with uncertainties. Systematically implemented, green growth strategies can be powerful and resilient in face of risks, mitigating the adverse effects of shocks, and enabling communities to meet growing demand for shelter, energy, food, transport and water. Specific guiding principles to this end include keeping the focus on development and poverty reduction, using sound science and forecasting, incorporating ecosystem-based approaches, and sharing risks through insurance schemes (UNEP, 2012).

Relevance to the SDGs

The concept of resilience is incorporated in a number of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 2 calls for resiliency in agricultural systems, SDG 9 in infrastructure and SDG 11 in human settlements or cities.

Explore green growth resources related to the SDGs:

SDG 2.4
    Resilient agriculture    
   SDG 9.1
  Resilient infrastructure  
   SDG 11.b
        Resilient Cities        


Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System (UNEP Inquiry), Climate Strategy & Partners
Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
University of Southampton, Global Climate Forum, GGKP Annual Conference

Learning Products

UN Environment, Environmental Law Institute, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Duke University, University of California
United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)