Development in the Anthropocene: The role of resilience

Published: May 2016

The Anthropocene changes how we must think about our world and the planet we live on. It has profound implications for development. These implications are emerging rapidly as we understand the full scale of human dimension, long-term consequences, and risks to Earth’s biosphere – the living part of Earth within which humans and our societies are embedded. Recent evidence has highlighted three novel challenges that the Anthropocene introduces: (1) Complexity: a new level of truly intertwined and inseparable social and ecological systems, (2) Teleconnections: people are increasingly connected from local to global scales, and (3) Surprise: rapid, widespread and often abrupt change dominates the planet.

This talking point outlines how development must go beyond current development paradigms, and how resilience has been identified as an avenue to address resilience in the Anthropocene. Resilience adds to the current thinking and frameworks used by sustainable development programs and investments in three key ways by going: beyond sustainability, beyond local, and beyond persisting.