What is it about?

We know it is a good idea to be sustainable. But we can't be certain about the future, so we cant be certain about what sustainability means. So we need to make allowances for uncertainty, to absorb surprises and adapt to them. That means being resilient. Which at least is possible, if not easy. The challenges to being resilient can be overcome. The public sector can set resilience targets. That way it can work to achieve them, or at least acknowledge when it is not, when it is trading off the future for the present.

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Why is it important?

Institutions that provide resilience have been the distinguishing factor of the remarkable economic growth and improving standards of living of the last 150 years compared with the rest of human history. In our increasingly complex and uncertain times, we need a step-up change by government institutions promoting greater resilience if today's gains are to be sustainable.

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This page is a summary of: Debate: Is managing for risk through resilience the answer in the quest for sustainability in the public sector?, Public Money & Management, August 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/09540962.2019.1654320.
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