At its thirty-first session, in March 2016, HLCP had considered a discussion paper on the topic of risk, prevention and resilience presented by the World Food Programme (WFP) and requested further exploration of those analytical concepts, their interlinkages and their potential application across different United Nations pillars. At the thirty-second session, WFP introduced a paper entitled “Risk, prevention and resilience: exploring the conceptual linkages” which offered definitions for and examined relations among the concepts, which had largely developed independently in difference contexts and thus tended to lack consistent understanding.
The paper outlined three broad options for going forward, for consideration by the Committee:
(a) Interoperability of concepts: allowing the concepts of risk, resilience and prevention to continue to develop independently, but attempting to ensure a degree of interoperability between them by establishing common definitions and points of convergence;
(b) A coherent framework for concepts: seeking to bring the concepts into a single risk and resilience framework by resolving the conceptual ambiguities and establishing a standardized sequence of actions for risk management and resilience-building, including across humanitarian and development work;
(c) A framework for the wider development context: seeking to incorporate these concepts into a system-wide view of the work of the United Nations to guide its broader efforts to achieve sustainable development.
The Committee affirmed the importance of greater clarity on these interlinked concepts and their utility for the work of the United Nations system.
Overall, the Committee viewed the three proposed options as a continuum of necessary efforts that could be pursued in steps, rather than as mutually exclusive pathways. There was broad agreement within the Committee that, at a minimum, interoperability of concepts, taken preferably a bit further by also considering its programmatic application in the broader context, would help strengthen the credibility and effectiveness of the United Nations system. In addition, common language and conceptual understanding could serve as an enabling basis for joint analysis within, but potentially also across, pillars.
The Committee welcomed the progress of work as outlined in the paper on risk, prevention and resilience and, as a first step, requested the task team, under the leadership of WFP, to deepen its work on interoperability of concepts and a potential conceptual framework on risk and resilience, taking into account the feedback and guidance provided during the discussion. The Committee agreed to revert to the item at its thirty-third session, with a report on progress.