Risk and Resilience

Across Abt Associates, a wide range of projects are underway to reduce the risks faced by vulnerable individuals, households, and communities – such as risks related to climate, health, and finance. Other Abt projects focus on strengthening the capacity of households, communities, and regions to recover when the risk is unavoidable.

The Risk and Resilience Center supports the development of these two categories of projects and acts as a central node for sharing the best practices and tools developed as a result of these projects.

Although the concepts of risk and resilience are closely linked, they refer to sets of actions put in place and activated at different moments. Risk reduction focuses on reducing the probability of an adverse event, such as losing one’s job. This risk can be reduced by, for example, ensuring that workers have access to reliable transportation. Another example is efforts to reduce the severity of climate change by reducing energy use and shifting to cleaner energy sources.

Building resilience, by contrast, focuses on strengthening the capacity of individuals, households, communities and regions to reduce the impact associated with an adverse event, such as loss of income from losing one’s job or falling ill. The adverse impacts can be reduced by helping people build household savings and by the government providing unemployment insurance, or by making affordable health insurance available. In the environmental space, efforts to improve the disaster-resistance of buildings and water and sewer systems similarly help to reduce the likelihood that periodic shocks will have adverse effects.

Abt is applying efforts to reduce risks and build resilience in fields as varied as climate change, preventative medical treatment, career pathways, homelessness prevention, protection against chemical products, disaster mitigation and prevention, health, and household financial asset-building.

Abt projects which support clients in reducing risk and building resilience include:

The New Perspectives on Building Resilience Webinar Series
This webinar series explored how a risk and resilience framework can help governments and their implementing partners target resources to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable by reducing risk and increasing resilience at the individual, household and community levels. Each session applied this framework to a different social policy area.
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Empowering Vulnerable Populations to Build Resilience: Concept Note and Project-Based Applications

In this Thought Leadership Paper, Thierry van Bastelaer proposes a simple framework to analyze resilience and to guide the development of programs to strengthen it across the domestic and international spheres.

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Center Directors

Thierry van BastalierThierry van Bastelaer, principal associate, International Health division

Thierry van Bastelaer provides leadership in broad set of issues involving livelihoods, health, and protection from financial risk. He helps identify regional trends in community-based health financing and other forms of community insurance and provides innovative solutions to problems of financial risk protection.

He has a PhD in Economics from the University of Maryland, and an MA in Economics from Facult├ęs Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur, Belgium.
Jeffrey LubellJeffrey Lubell, director of housing initiatives, Social & Economic Policy division
Jeffrey Lubell, a nationally recognized housing and community development authority, is director of housing initiatives for Abt Associates.  By grounding Abt’s research in a thorough understanding of the relevant policy context, and by drawing on available evidence and careful analysis to develop stronger and more effective policy solutions, Lubell assists policymakers in solving the nation’s pressing housing and community development challenges.  Among other topics, his research interests include an exploration of the role that housing plays in advancing key societal outcomes such as health, education, asset-building, economic development, and environmental sustainability.
He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College.  He also is a former Fulbright Scholar.