Stabilization & Resilience In Protracted, Politically-Induced Emergencies: A Case Study Exploration of Lebanon
The concept of resilience offers a framework that facilitates cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary dialogue and pushes us to examine systems that influence complex situations. To date, resilience thinking has not been extensively applied to politically-induced emergency situations. UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Mercy Corps conducted research to explore this possibility using Lebanon as a case study. This paper examines the following questions: What does resilience mean in the context of the Syrian crisis in Lebanon? Secondly, how does a resilience framework apply to the response to the Syrian crisis in Lebanon? And lastly, what programmatic interventions would most effectively build resilience?
An examination of the literature on resilience as well as field work in Lebanon all point to the importance of building absorptive, adaptive and transformative capacities as the interplay between stabilisation and resilience. The foregoing analysis shows that it is possible to “embed” a resilience-focused response within an evolving emergency response, provided sufficient time and effort is taken to attempt to understand the dynamics of the underlying system and identify key entry points that can help guide and align the humanitarian response towards transformation to build positive resilience. It highlights that the Lebanese Crisis Response Plan (LCRP) is a progressive step forward to create an integrated strategy that will facilitate absorptive and adaptive capacity development in Lebanon, and there is still room to identify and inform the transformational agenda. It was also found that it is not necessary to fully understand the complexity of the system at hand before acting on it, nor is it necessarily productive to invest inordinate time and resources in externally conducted analyses to determine the optimal interventions. Instead, appropriate solutions will “emerge” naturally if the conditions for their emergence are fostered and if intervention is conceived as a rapid succession of short cycles, carefully monitored, analysed and learned from to inform the design of the next cycle. Ultimately interventions can inform a larger learning process to create adaptive design and a variety of non-replicable context-based solutions by delegating decision-making and allocating resources at that level.