Triggering transformation: Managing resilience or invoking real change?
Societies respond to pressure to change mostly through incremental steps, which focus on maintaining the current system or accepting gradual partial change. However, this is increasingly inadequate - given the multiple dynamic pressures under current and future global change - and there is a need to develop more robust understandings of how change can be managed and what promotes positive transformative action. This would ideally contribute to achieving the goals of development, disaster risk reduction and adaptation simultaneously. Much of the focus has however been dedicated to changes that are far from revolutionary, and less attention has been paid to the issue of scale and the evaluation of the nature of that change and its long-term implications. This presentation will use Handmer and Dovers’ (2007, 2009) three-staged resilience typology to investigate and understand those factors that bring about transformation. It also explores through different examples how transformation could be characterised and evaluated. We argue that not all transformation is necessarily positive and welcome, and that greater focus needs to be placed on understanding the drivers which enable long-term positive transformation, and which inhibit maladaptation. This includes also complexities around the issue of scale and the normative elements embedded in attempts to evaluate change. Our interest lies also in identifying spaces in policy processes where negative transformational change could be reversed and commitment to non-sustainable agendas could be reduced.
Transformation in a Changing Climate