Super Resilient Governments

During May 8-9, 2020 an interesting online event took place, during which Innovating Governance was invited to be part of. Veronica Cretu made a presentation on Why do we need Super Resilient Governments!

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–Individuals, institutions and communities are struggling more and more today with the need to cope with the evolutionary challenges. The current skill level might not be responding well to those emerging trends.

Re: The current pandemic shows how uncertain the future is and how much pressure is out there on the Governments. But are they ready for that uncertain future, are they able to cope with pressure?

“Resilience includes the ability to withstand and recover rapidly from deliberate attacks, accidents, natural disasters, as well as unconventional stresses, shocks and threats to economy and democratic system” (USA national doctrine on resilience 2017).

Of the 45 national policy frameworks on resilience across OECD countries, 39 mention the role of cities or subnational governments for building national resilience in the national policy frameworks on resilience.

Collaboration with other levels of government is one of the key drivers to ensure a coherent and integrated approach to resilience.

Some frameworks on resilience include very specific roles and missions for cities.

Emphasizing that local authorities are primarily responsible for building resilience, i.e United States (2011), Japan (2014); and

Promoting intense co-operation and sharing of best practices at all levels of government, i.e. Israel’s “Sustainability Outlook 2030” (2012).

Veronica Cretu of Innovating Governance about Why do we need Super Resilient Governments, from 4:34:34

Main characteristics of a Resilient Government:

1) Foresight.

A resilient Government can not predict the future but it can learn to use evidence based approaches and data in preparing for the future. Developing effective forecasting techniques. Using scenario planning & modelling to show the impact of various possible futures;

–i.e. Imagine a situation in which you have a pandemic, such as Covid-19 and no electricity across several regions? How would the online education/learning work out in this case? Or, half of the children not having access to basic gadgets? Or ISPs increasing their connectivity costs and affordability for the remote teaching vs learning becoming an issue?

–Foresight is a crucial tool and for this, Governments should build capacity among their public servants for diagnosing strategic issues at sector level and across the sectors. Using data for these processes is key. National Open Data Portals are a vital tool in this exercise.

2) Resilient governments regularly engage in long-term financial planning and they recognize the importance of disaster preparedness and management;

Local governments incorporate resiliency into their strategic planning processes to produce a sustainable communities and mitigate the effects of disasters. It is important that foreign aid and development partners are on-board with such processes at country level.

Resilient governments have a formal policy on the level of unrestricted fund balance that is maintained in the general fund and accordingly, these resources could be deployed to address the stringent needs in critical situations: i.e. provide children with additional support for remote learning; assisting parents with child care; providing health care providers with necessary equipment, others.

3) Diversity. Resilient governments avoid relying on a single solution.

They use multi-faceted approach to financial health and usually consider other elements than revenues and expenditures such as land-uses, demographics, others;

They diversify communication and speak clear language or several languages if needed. They broaden and deepen the engagement of various stakeholder groups.

Diversity is encouraged in everything. i.e. in Education sector, a wide variety/typology of schools is encouraged; schools are independent to decide on what to teach and how to teach and where to teach …