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The existence of global issues and challenges (including disasters, poverty, climate change) has prompted a response in the form of international resilience and sustainable development frameworks (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA], n.d.a). As demonstrated by Murray (2014) and Roberts, Andrei, Huq, and Flint (2015), the three recent frameworks (Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SF), Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and the agreement of the 21st Conference of the UN Parties in Paris) are united not only by their high-profile nature. Instead, the three frameworks can and should be used in synergy in the “post-2015 development agenda” (Roberts et al., 2013, p. 1024).
In the present paper, the three frameworks will be used to locate and define the concepts of development, sustainability, and resilience as well as the relationships between them in an attempt to determine the synergy between both the notions and the frameworks.
According to the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine [NA] (2012), resilience can be defined as “the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events” (p. 1). As for development and sustainability, they tend to be used in the form of the phrase “sustainable development” by all the three frameworks (Paris Climate Change Conference [PCCC], 2015b; United Nations [UN], 2015; United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction [UNISDR], 2015).
This phrase usually goes without a definition, but in the historical report “Our common future” by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (1987), it is described as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (par. 1). These definitions will be used for the present analysis.
Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
SF is an UN-approved framework that is aimed specifically at disaster management, especially disaster risk reduction, which is why its primary expected outcome consists of building resilience (UNISDR, 2015, p. 12). Concerning sustainable development and SF, OCHA (n.d.a) rightfully states that development and disaster management are supposed to be planned for and carried out simultaneously so that the underlying issues are addressed together with the more acute ones.
As a result, UNISDR (2015) places SF within the general goal for sustainable development as a means of achieving it (p. 9). It is especially evident in the way SF discusses resilience in the context of some of SDG, such as poverty eradication or climate change resistance (UNISDR, 2015, pp. 9-10). It can be concluded that there is a certain interrelationship between the three notions of resilience, sustainability, and development with resilience being a basis for sustainable development, and even though SF focuses on resilience, it cannot avoid sustainability or development altogether.
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG is an ongoing project which is being refined as more goals are added to it. For instance, in 2015, end poverty goal was added (UN, 2015). Naturally, SDG involves the concepts of sustainability and development; it includes the goals that can be defined as mostly development-oriented ones (like industry development) and mostly sustainable ones (like “life below water”) (UN, 2015, para. 14). However, in the majority of goals, it is impossible (and counterproductive) to draw a line between development and sustainability. For instance, the goal number eight consists of the “decent work and economic growth promotion”, and the goal number sixteen aims for “peace, justice, and strong institutions”(UN, 2015, para. 8, 16).
Resilience is also embedded in the framework, even though it is mostly implicit: for instance, the thirteenth goal involves working against climate change which implies climate resilience, the goal number eight includes economic resilience, and so on. As a result, SDG also confirms the fact that the three notions are interwoven with each other, and separating them is not entirely necessary. It is also noteworthy that here, resilience can be regarded as an outcome of development, which demonstrates that the notions are mutually dependent and have a complex form of interrelationships.
Paris Climate Change Conference
PCCC (2015b) is primarily concerned with the climate change issue, which, however, is not isolated from other global issues and has been found to contribute to them, for example, resulting in natural disasters, hunger, and, eventually, the deterioration of humans’ health (Pearson & Pelling, 2015; Sadler-Smith, 2014). At the same time, climate change is a major push for development, and PCCC (2015b) promotes, for example, the use of locally produced products for food.
Paris Climate Change Conference [PCCC] (2015a) has culminated in the signing of Paris agreement that mentions the issues which are very closely related to SDP but focuses on climate-related aspects of the sustainable development of the modern world, logically connecting the issue to other global problems. Thus, the agreement becomes another element in the promotion of development, sustainability and resilience in the direct “Our common future” meaning: it is a call for meeting the needs of the population while also ensuring that the future generations do not inherit a climate that is imbalanced by our actions.
The presented analysis allows making the following conclusions about the notions of resilience, sustainability, and development as well as the three chosen frameworks. First of all, it is apparent that all the three frameworks define and contain the three notions to an extent; they tend to focus on one or two of them, but they do not appear to be able to detach the chosen notions from the remaining ones completely.
This tendency implies that the three notions are very closely connected. Indeed, two of them are typically paired; the remaining one ends up connected to them in all the mentioned frameworks. As a result, it can be suggested that the three notions, while distinct, have overlapping areas and mutual interrelations. Similarly, the three frameworks are also interrelated, and, as inferred by Roberts et al. (2013), the area where they overlap can define the general agenda of the modern world evolution, which consists of striving for resilience, development, and sustainability.
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