Community experience as a basis for National Resilience Policy

Ensuring the capacity of the national resilience system is a challenge for a resilient Ukrainian society.

Today, the whole country is under attack: both in the front lines and in rear areas. The war has demonstrated that only the synergy of available resources of the state and society can produce a systemic positive result. At the same time, the effectiveness of managing the rear capabilities of social interaction is still debatable.

In February 2022, just as in 2014, the rapid mobilization of networks of volunteers, communities, entrepreneurs, and individuals provided for the critical needs of people affected by the Russian invasion and even the needs of the army. A comprehensive national resilience system is only beginning to be developed by state actors. This state of affairs, exacerbated by the lack of proper communication on the part of state actors, weakens the level of societal resistance in the country.

Presumably, a significant factor that can strengthen the integrity of the rear and the front is a broad social consensus around the concept of resilience. Domestic and international developments in this area, as well as the experience of the communities discussed below, testify to the particular value for Ukraine of the concept of resilience as a tool to prepare the state and society for the threats and crisis situations of any duration. Considering that in one form or another war can last for a long time, the entire organism of society needs to be rebuilt for the long haul without losing its functionality.

This means that, just like the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the rear must be ready for long-term crisis situations. At a mini- mum, families, societies, communities, entrepreneurs, businesses, authorities – everybody should have safety protocols that have algorithms for behavior before, during, and after a threat or crisis situation of any nature or duration. Such rules of behavior provide for awareness not only of state actors, but also of society about the whole spectrum of possible risks, inter-sector communication, accumulation of resources, and preparation for continuous functioning.

These and other necessary components of survival and recovery during any threats and crisis situations are the subject of regulation of national and international resilience systems.

The National Security Strategy of Ukraine, approved by Presidential Decree No. 392 of September 14, 2020defines national resilience as one of the main principles of the national security strategy, and the implementation of the national resilience system is included in the main directions of the foreign and domestic policy activities of the state to ensure its national interests and security.

Despite the fact that the Concept of Ensuring the National Resilience System was approved in 2021 (Decree of the President of Ukraine dated September 27, 2021 No. 479), state actors have not yet ensured implementation measures.

The Ukrainian resilience formula, as defined by the National Platform for Resilience and Cohesion (hereinafter referred to as the National Platform, or NP), is based on values, traditions (practices) and human potential. Therefore, the experience of communities and sustainable practices implemented at the grass-root level should be carefully studied by state actors to be taken into account in the development and implementation of state policies to ensure national resilience.

Resilient community practices studied by the National Platform for Resilience and Cohesion as part of the Resilience Live project since 2022 (namely immediately after Russia’s full-scale invasion on February 24, 2022) have provided a lot of material for analyzing Ukraine’s unique resilience formula, further systematizing the findings and shaping real resilience policies based on them.

However, we still mostly understand the Ukrainian phenomenon of modern resilience intuitively. Reflections and accompanying government documents fell behind with the integration of practical cases, and the cases themselves, without the proper analysis, cannot scale and be used by stakeholders.

In the review of community practices, we selected the experience of mobilization, work, and interaction of communities from all over Ukraine. This experience allowed the experts of the National Platform to define what the resilience of a community, business, city, social project or industry association means.

The next step is to make resilient practices more visible to stakeholders:

  1. a)  Experts and state actors of different levels, who are included in the development and implementation of state policies to ensure the national resilience system;
  2. b)  Donors and international organizations that seek to study the phenomenon of Ukrainian resilience and support best practices;
  3. c)  Other communities that may include potential partners, which will contribute to cooperation and expansion of the network.

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