The Resilience Alliance (RA) is a multidisciplinary research group that explores the dynamics of complex social-ecological systems (SESs) in order to discover foundations for sustainability. Established in 1999, the RA is supported by an international network of member institutions that includes universities, government, and non-government agencies. It has two main activities – a Science Program and a Communications and Outreach Program
The RA's Science Program integrates theory development with a set of case studies that together support continued breakthroughs in our understanding of the dynamics of systems of people and nature. The Communications and Outreach Program aims to build capacity among a global community of researchers, practitioners, stakeholders, and policy makers, through a variety of knowledge-sharing and network-development initiatives.
Their primary niche in society is:
- We are strongly multidisciplinary. With core strength in ecological sciences but growing capacity in the social sciences, our program has evolved to focus on linked social-ecological systems (SESs). Fundamental to the RA's approach is the understanding that complex environmental systems must be addressed in an integrative manner, combining social, economic, and ecological factors.
- Through our members' extensive involvement in Adaptive Environmental Assessment and Management (AEAM), coupled with a set of regional case studies, the RA collectively has decades of experience engaging stakeholders involved in resource management planning processes.
- The set of case-studies is closely linked with theory development.
- The Alliance is small (membership cap of 20 institutions) and flexible, allowing new ideas to permeate quickly. Formal connections to other organizations working on related issues extend the network's reach.
- Our work fortifies a paradigm shift in natural resource management from top-down (command-and-control) optimization to resilience and self-organization.
- The RA is at the forefront of exploring complex dynamics in social-ecological systems and maintains a research focus on how to influence/manage resilience, adaptability, and transformability in such systems. For an overview of what is meant by these terms, see Walker et al (2004) in Ecology and Society.
Website: Resilience Alliance Homepage