The National Academies, in particular the Committee on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters operating under the authority of the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (Exactly? It’s hard to tell…), has released an impressive new report on resilience.
It is bound to both to tug on the heartstrings of some and infuriate others.
I have to say, while I haven’t read the entire 200+ page report, it does seem to attempt to blend the expertise of a varied staff. There were engineers, economists, medical professionals, sociologists, etc.
They chose a definition of resilience as a jumping off point:
“The ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, or more successfully adapt to actual or potential adverse events.”
And came up with a vision for resilient nation in 2030:
- Individuals and communities are their own first line of defense against disasters.
- National leadership in resilience exists throughout federal agencies and Congress.
- Community-led resilience efforts receive federal, state, and regional investment and support.
- Site-specific risk information is readily available, transparent, and effectively communicated.
- Zoning ordinances are enacted and enforced. Building codes and retrofit standards are widely adopted and enforced.
- A significant proportion of post-disaster recovery is funded through private capital and insurance payouts.
- Insurance premiums are risk based.
- Community coalitions have contingency plans to provide service particularly to the most vulnerable populations during recovery.
- Post-disaster recovery is accelerated by infrastructure redundancy and upgrades. A resilient nation in 2030 also has a vibrant and diverse economy and a safer, healthier, and better educated citizenry than in previous generations.
To get there they list six recommendations:
Recommendation 1: Federal government agencies should incorporate national resilience as a guiding principle to inform the mission and actions of the federal government and the programs it supports at all levels.
Recommendation 2: The public and private sectors in a community should work cooperatively to encourage commitment to and investment in a risk management strategy that includes complementary structural and nonstructural risk-reduction and risk-spreading measures or tools. Such tools might include an essential framework (codes, standards, and guidelines) that drives the critical structural functions of resilience and investment in risk-based pricing of insurance.
Recommendation 3: A national resource of disaster-related data should be established that documents injuries, loss of life, property loss, and impacts on economic activity. Such a database will support efforts to develop more quantitative risk models and better understand structural and social vulnerability to disasters.
Recommendation 4: The Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with other federal agencies, state and local partners, and professional groups should develop a National Resilience Scorecard.
Recommendation 5: Federal, state and local governments should support the creation and maintenance of broad-based community resilience coalitions at local and regional levels.
Recommendation 6: All federal agencies should ensure they are promoting and coordinating national resilience in their programs and policies. A resilience policy review and self-assessment within agencies and strong communication among agencies are keys to achieving this kind of coordination.
Perhaps most encouraging, this particular project apparently was completed under time and budget, allowing the Academies to spend a year spreading the resilience gospel.
So if the National Academy “resilience train” pulls up on your stop, think seriously about giving this group of serious and dedicated individuals a hand with their mission of furthering the discussion on resilience.
For more information, go to: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13457&page=R5