UNDP Resilience Hub for Africa

Image: UNDP/Aisha Jemila Daniels

What is resilience?
While there are varying interpretations of resilience, at its core, resilience is the capacity to identify and stay away from risks and, when risks become shocks, the capacity to cope, to adapt to them or to reshape them. It is not about new ingredients (poverty reduction, peace building, job creation, gender equality, food security), it is about a new recipe that combines them to create a capacity to identify risks and shocks and recover from them.

Given the new nature of risks, resilience calls for doing development differently through a whole-system approach, integrating three main aspects: avoiding the siloed approach to risks; bridging the geographical divide in risks and hazard management; and learning to see risks where we have never seen them before. Investing in resilience is about making development shockproof so that it can be sustained over time.

Why is resilience important for Africa?
Today, we need resilience more than ever because the scale, complexity and interconnectedness of risks facing humankind is unprecedented. Building resilience is especially vital in Africa, with the continent undergoing profound transformations: ongoing demographic transition, rapid urbanization, and democratization. These trends present unique opportunities but also pose significant risks, especially in the background of rapid climate change and unprecedented shocks. Building resilience ensures that Africa has the capacity to address risks while reaping the benefits of ongoing transformations, rather than falling victim to them.

What is the UNDP Resilience Hub for Africa and why was it established?
The UNDP Resilience Hub for Africa (hereby referred to as “the Resilience Hub”) was established in Nairobi, in 2019, as the only thematic hub of its kind with a mandate on integrated resilience, covering 46 UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

What does the Resilience Hub do?
The Resilience Hub supports UNDP country offices in mainstreaming resilience throughout their programme cycle and provides technical policy and programme support to country offices to apply a resilience building approach at the national and local level. It also delivers resilience at the margins by leading and supporting the development of regional initiatives to reach the most vulnerable in geographical hotspots and in particularly fragile contexts.

The Resilience Hub focuses its support on three key thematic areas:
1) Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery for Building Resilience (DRT)
2) Governance and Peacebuilding
3) Human Mobility

Channelled through two strategic pillars of work:
1) Analysing the future: understanding risks better
2) Delivering resilience: applying a resilience building approach at the regional, national, and local level

What is the Resilience Hub’s Vision?

The Resilience Hub envisions itself as providing thought leadership on and cutting-edge support for resilience building in Africa. Its goal is to make UNDP’s work not only future-ready, but also shock-proof by turning resilience-informed programming into reality.

What is the Resilience’s Hub’s core strategy to accelerate resilience in Africa?
The Resilience Hub’s Strategic Offer for Africa, finalized in 2021, is a foundational element of its identity, with innovation and technology, especially digital technology, serving as key enablers to accelerate resilience building across the continent. This relies on a two-pronged strategic approach:  

Resilience4Tech: (ensuring that technology is fit for purpose)
Using technologies can quickly become counterproductive if we do not get the basics right. The offer is therefore complemented by the Resilience Hub’s ongoing, flagship initiative “Africa leading the 4th industrial revolution (AL4IR)” which places at its core the responsible use of disruptive technologies for public good.
: (leveraging technology for resilience)
Although not all services provided by the Resilience Hub are technology-oriented, leveraging innovative technologies is a key strategy.

How is the Resilience Hub positioned in the development landscape?

  • It is the only hub of its kind in Africa and the world that takes an integrated, whole system approach to resilience. Most think tanks on resilience in Africa are sector specific, however the Resilience Hub’s approach is cross-sectoral, producing tangible programmatic support.
  • It hosts essential skills for resilience building including digital partnership.
  • It works in essential sectors for resilience building and at different geographical scales.
  • Its offer provides cutting-edge knowledge and innovation on risk analysis and prediction; supports the development of new metrics and tools such as early warning systems and predictive analytics; helps identify and promote communities’ best resilience practices; provides foresight for emerging and unexpected risks, and leverages advocacy efforts at the country, regional and global level.
  • It contributes to building some of the core enablers of Africa’s Promise, staying true to the principle of Leaving No One Behind; and to cementing gains made towards the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063.

Who are the Resilience Hub’s key clients and beneficiaries?

Its direct clients include UNDP Country Offices (COs) and regional institutions – the African Union Commission (AUC) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs). However, the Resilience Hub’s work is people-centred with ultimate beneficiaries being African citizens, especially the most vulnerable.