About - Haiti Resilience System

What is the "Resilience System"?

The Haiti Resilience System is a nested sub-system of the Global Resilience System (GRS), The HRS is a society-wide initiative with the goal of improving the health, well-being, and prosperity of Haitian citizens and their communities by fostering a resilient response to change. Based upon an open data / open source platform that enables collaboration at all levels of society, over great distances, the HRS utilizes a multi sector approach enabling citizens, communities, NGOs, business and government to collaborate in identifying risks, preparing for unexpected events, reducing vulnerability, and responding to change events with a collective effort to improve circumstances. The HRS focus is on creative options to adapt to adversity (also called "adaptive capacity building"), information sharing environments, networking, and collective action. The HRS, and its nested sub-systems (e.g., Haiti MPHISE) are a flexible hyper-local response to create and maintain prosperous economic and social systems embedded in healthy ecological systems, upon whose services we depend for our health, wealth, and security.

Why is the Haiti Resilience System Important?

Complex System - Haitian society, -- under the conditions of the second decade of the 21st Century -- is subject to massive and costly systems challenges and discontinuities in our food, water, housing, health care, security, energy, forests, soil, and other natural resources, as well as financial and economic systems. The Haiti Resilience System is designed as an arena for collaboration and integrative management and governance, allowing for learning and flexibility to build adaptive capacity through all levels of society. Resilience Networks access local situational awareness and management of localized social-ecological systems, while working hand in hand with all levels of government, the private sector, and the social sector based upon the community’s need for capacity building. Weaving local and national value chains in with an awareness that humans and nature are entwined, both human-built environments and natural systems provide essential components for stimulating adaptation and appropriate development that enhances resilience.

Enables Agile and Adaptable Response - We live in a world of constantly changing socio-ecological systems. Rather than attempting to deny or control change, the Haiti Resilience System applies a breakthrough in integrative management and governance systems. “Focus, Agility, and Convergence (FAC)” teams (sometimes called "smart swarms") are used to supplement, and eventually replace, many hierarchical, control systems with more efficient complex adaptive systems, which are self-synchronizing to emerging conditions. These non-hierarchical, non-controlled systems operate with the qualities of distributed collective learning, evidence-based decision-making and agile response, similar to market economies and the internet, rather than 20th Century Soviet-style centralized economies or traditional American command and control systems. Although Haiti has benefited significantly from non-hierarchical, non-controlled systems, (such as Konbit, cell phone communication, and the internet) the advances in systems science have yet to be widely applied to the Haitian health sector, energy sector, and disaster management communities. Resilience Systems are bridging this gap.

Reducing Vulnerability in an Epoch of Finite National Resources -
Ecosystem services per capita are rapidly declining globally. They have been extremely impacted in many parts of Haiti. Ninety-nine percent of Haiti’s forests are gone. Many of its reefs have been destroyed. Fifty-four of its 56 major watersheds have been degraded. In many areas, Haiti’s soils are being lost.

Localized Resilience Networks, built upon the inherent human and natural resources, skill sets, and capacities in a community, can reverse these negative trends, while minimizing the need for dependency aid from external resources, which often lead to the plundering of local resources. Currently, the predominant response and disaster management systems in Haiti, like in most nations operate through costly hierarchical control systems, when these systems exist. All too often, Haitian communities are left with no assistance, except for what they can muster themselves with little training under difficult conditions.

The limitations of hierarchical control systems to quickly, economically, and efficiently respond to the wide variety of localized needs, has been revealed by the complexity and extent of large-scale disasters such as the January 2010 earthquake centered just outside of Port-au-Prince, and Hurricane Sandy. Unfortunately, with climate change, storms are having more frequent and intense impact on Haiti’s increasing population.

Despite the reality of budget constraints, lack of government infrastructure, and disaster resources, Haiti can have the ability to improve their resilience in the face of emergencies, but it must start to plan for better emergency management at the regional and local levels now. Efforts must be made through Resilience Networks and Resilience Capacity Zones to proactively acknowledge and address vulnerabilities, so that the Haitian people are prepared to have disasters bring communities together like never before. Through the Resilience System components, communities, neighborhoods, families, and individuals are able to collaborate and share information to identify and actively participate in risk reduction, disaster response, relief and resilient capacity building to meet the long-term problems within increasingly resilient Haitian communities.

Components of the Haiti Resilience System

1) Resilience Networks (RN)

Resilience Networks provide a collaboration platform and information sharing environment for all levels of local and regional society, primarily through linking horizontal (local and community-based) organizations and the public. The RN Web 3.0 intelligent networking approach enables citizens, community-based organizations, NGOs, small business, and government to work in partnership toward more resilient responses to the impact and process of change. Identification of resources and adaptive capacities of individuals, neighborhoods, communities and regions are recognized, and built upon. Resilience Networks enable healthy, more sustainable communities capable of responding to adversity by actively preparing for change events, which might include economic, social, and environmental impacts.

This includes changes brought up by natural disaster events. In times of aggressive, sometimes unanticipated change, a resilient community will need to draw upon all resources that contribute to its' health and well-being. A Resilience Network enhances the social capital of a community through encouraging informed and active networks focused upon evidence-based communications, idea sharing, and access to a wide scope of resources before, during and after a crisis. These RN intelligent social networks embrace the dynamic aspects of socio-ecological interdependencies, while looking for innovative and appropriate solutions for a resilient response to challenges and change at the local (department / city / commune / section levels) and hyperlocal (community / village / neighborhood) levels. Haiti’s emerging Resilience Networks dynamically enhance the level of community capacity to respond to and recover from a disaster through multiple pathways, including localized Resilience Networks actively engaging individuals and communities in risk / resilience assessment and asset mapping within Health/Resilience Capacity Zones.

Health/Resilience Capacity Zone assessments performed at the household and organizational level provide open data (within a common core dataset independent of personal identifiers) for building situational awareness of mission critical functions at the neighborhood, community, and broader societal levels in order to develop community resilience plans with an evidence-based understanding of the local and regional social ecology and ecosystem services. From the identified risks and assets within Health/Resilience Capacity Zones, individuals, neighborhoods, community groups, and whole communities are brought together in a unity of effort with business, and government through the Haiti Resilience System to actively build upon the tools and methods of local and regional area resilience.

Within Resilience Networks, geo-spatial visualizations and visual analytics of local concerns are engaged in scenarios planning. Inclusive planning processes are performed with customization and localization for direct application to regions and their communities. Emerging mobile apps, intelligent social networking technology, as well as face-to-face community meetings, active work parties, and social events, are coordinated through Resilience Networks. In communities that lack access to the internet through their homes and businesses, Resilience Networks provide Health/Resilience Capacity Zone collaborating centers with access to computers and the internet, as well as analog access to Mission Critical Function and Asset/Gap maps and community resource guides in paper form.

Within a Resilience Network, its integrative management and governance process build and support resilience by nurturing and/or conserving the many elements which are necessary to adapt to new, unexpected and transformative situations. Through this type of adaptation prosperous and responsive development can be created and maintained within the complexity of social and economic systems dependent upon the ecosystem services of local, regional, national and global socio-biotic systems.

2) FAC Teams

Focus Agility and Convergence (FAC) Teams are rapidly-enabled teams comprised of pre-vetted individuals with expertise, who collectively act through Hastily Formed Networks to meet the immediate health, communications, infrastructure, ecosystem, and humanitarian needs of an area in crisis. Members of FAC Teams may already be working or living in the impacted area. FAC team members collaborate and contribute from far or near through web 3.0 intelligent social networks. Typically they will respond quickly in alignment with, but before large organized metropolitan, state, or federal response organizations and large NGOs are able to organize themselves to effectively respond in the early stages of a disaster. They identify and empower local smart swarms that have more persistence within communities.

3) Trust Networks

Trust Networks are intelligent social networks of individuals and groups with deep local and hyper-local knowledge, conflict resolution skills, tools, methodologies, cross-cultural knowledge and other characteristics that make them uniquely prepared to identify the underlying precursors and emerging indicators of social crises, conflict and violence. Trust Networks are used to anticipate and dissipate trends leading to conflict.


Adaptive Logistics And Distributed Intelligent Networks (ALADIN) are a new generation of environmentally-friendly, flexible logistics and distribution systems (like those associated with Occupy to Transform or STAR-TIDES, originating from advancements in the DoD) to address non-commercial demand for health- and life-sustaining products, shelters and services in distressed populations, generally in response to large-scale disasters (such as Superstorm Sandy or where traditional value chains are failing, for example in Cite Soleil and many rural areas of Haiti). Where formal hierarchical supply chains bog down or fail to rapidly meet essential requirements, ALADINs can often provide life-critical and health-essential solutions. ALADINs, such as emerged in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy’s landfall in Haiti can be crucial to maintaining the basics of survival for impacted populations. In some emergencies they serve the needs of hundreds of thousands of people in disaster areas with disrupted value chains and markets. ALADINs are designed to function with agility, speed and financial transparency.

5) Resilience LTROs, Roundtables & Summits

LTROs (Long Term Recovery Organizations) bring together stakeholders at the hyper-local level to examine problems, assets, and establish programs of value to neighborhoods and communities based upon community and local organization engagement. Resilience Roundtables bring together key stakeholders from multiple LTROs and other organizations to plan and bring interested parties up to date with problems and opportunities that affect many communities in similar ways. Resilience Summits advance plans and policies from the LTROs and Roundtables with key representatives of hierarchical institutions that can respond with various resources to solve problems and improve opportunities across multiple jurisdictions.

6) Haiti MPHISE (Medical & Public Health Information Sharing Environment)

The Haiti Medical and Public Health Information Sharing Environment (MPHISE) was the first component of the Haiti Resilience System established after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake and onset of cholera. The Haiti MPHISE uses crowd-sourcing and intelligent social networks for building collaboration and sharing information on health issues within communities and between communities, NGOs, the private sector, and government. MPHISE may be the initially developed aspect of a Resilience Network, because of the core values of health and human security that are essential in all areas.

Key Concepts

Resilience Systems Approach - Resilience Systems identify and build upon the inherent resources and adaptive capacities of a community or region - rather than depending upon broad and sweeping, external interventions - to overcome challenges and problems. The goal is to reduce dependency aid that increases vulnerabilities over time, by enhancing community locus of control, community capacity building, and local/hyper-local value chains that increase agile adaption to change and crisis.

Critical Infrastructure Resilience is a step in the right direction, but it isn’t enough to mitigate, prepare, respond, and recover from complex crisis or exponential change. Concepts of Resilience that are built on simple command and control systems -- rather than complex systems -- all too often fail in preventing and managing large-scale social crises and in adaptation to rapid change. Resilience Systems and Resilience Networks have the capabilities to transform communities, when it is not possible to return to the pre-existing state, but to do so in a manner that honors community self-determination and its ability to evolve based upon its own culture.

Fundamental to the Resilience System and Resilience Networks is the understanding that socio-ecological systems – whether neighborhoods, villages, communities, or societies -- are interdependent and constantly changing. The socio-cultural units can often respond to gradual change smoothly. However, sometimes there are drastic and abrupt shifts that are expensive, or impossible, to reverse. For the most resilient response to crisis or catastrophic change, an impacted area benefits significantly from working with components established for response and relief prior to the change event. In other words, social systems and ecosystems impacted by disaster or rapid change must be able to cope, adapt or reorganize drawing systematically on the best knowledge, tools, and methods available for a resilient response.

Useful tools for building resilience in socio-ecological systems are: risk and threat indicators at the local level, health capacity zone assessments, and participation in structured scenarios planning sessions at multiple levels to envision possible alternative futures and solutions to challenges presented. The work of building and sustaining resilience, must involve its fundamental building blocks of any society: citizens, family and neighborhoods. Businesses, the social sector, and government are able to significantly improve the integrative management and governance through Resilience Systems and Resilience Networks that are fully engaging citizens at the most granular level, with flexible, innovative and open collaboration. Crowd-sourcing and intelligent social networks within Resilience Networks are becoming essential tools for creating this type of unity of effort.

Elemental to social systems, governance and business within the Resilience Networks is the recognition that human society relies on ecosystem services. We must manage our environmental assets locally, regionally, nationally and globally, in order to support and maintain our options for sustainability and prosperity into the future.

Risks & Threats - Identified events or situations which have in the past, or may in the future, result in mortality or changes in health, and/or destruction to property, infrastructure and systems must be tracked and risks and threats mitigated.

Vulnerabilities - The sensitivity and degree of exposure of an individual, family, neighborhood, community or region needs to be managed in highly vulnerable populations. Resilience Networks identify and measure vulnerability by assessing the status of mission critical functions (e.g., food security, water quality, housing, sanitation, health services) and identifying gaps. Vulnerabilities are generally considered the attributes which may weaken a community's ability for a resilient response to change. Vulnerability can be viewed in terms of a natural hazard where frequency, intensity, timing and magnitude are factors of impact. Vulnerability can also be related to states of being such as those related to socio-economic factors including poverty, housing quality, access to health services, community cohesiveness and social connectedness. Vulnerabilities are often related to the capacity for maintaining and improving the health, wellness, and security of the individuals, communities, institutions, and ecosystems.

Adaptive Capacity - The ability of a community (or system) to modify or change its characteristics or behaviors to cope with an actual, or anticipated, change event. Adaptation is generally thought of as a response to a stressor.

Mitigation - Steps taken to pre-empt or avoid a risk or threat.

Community - In speaking of resilient response to change, communities can be divided into:
Communities of Place - are defined as entities in a geographic region such as a neighborhood, a town, or county.
Communities of Interest - are defined as those who come together due to having a common interest or belief such as a faith-based group, those who play sports, families, students of a school, those who work for a corporation, those who use the resources of the same watershed.
Communities of Emergence - are those who come together over a particular event or issue such as a natural disaster or specific social needs to better achieve a desired outcome.

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