, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 3-20,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 29 Mar 2014

Benefits and Challenges of Resilience and Vulnerability for Disaster Risk Management


This article addresses resilience and vulnerability as two prominent concepts within disaster risk science. The authors provide an overview of current uses and benefits of and challenges to resilience and vulnerability concepts for disaster risk management (DRM). The article summarizes the evolution of these concepts and of attempts to define them precisely, and addresses the potential benefits of conceptual vagueness. The usage and conception of resilience and vulnerability within a selection of strategies and legislations in DRM are compared. Complementing this analysis of disaster risk research and management practice, a survey identifies some of the benefits of and challenges to the concepts of resilience and vulnerability as seen by a peer-community. Synthesizing the three approaches, we conclude that a certain conceptual and methodological “haze” prevails, which hampers the transfer of information and findings within disaster risk science, from science to practice, and vice versa. But this vagueness offers opportunities for communication between disaster risk science, policy, and practice. Overall, evaluations of the resilience and vulnerability concepts are lacking, which demands the development of criteria to identify and assess the challenges to and benefits of resilience and vulnerability for DRM.