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What cannot be measured still must be managed

This short paper highlights the challenges of “the quest for a resilience indicator”. It warns how well-intended indicators can lead to perverse incentives, drawing upon detailed examples from other domains such as education, criminal justice, and health, in which defining objectives and measuring outcomes is difficult and some indicators have led to “ill-considered incentives and poor outcomes”.

Key points

To help avoid these issues, authors propose seven “thought experiments” by which a resilience indicator can be tested and provide recommendations on how to mitigate the risks created by imperfect indicators by improving the indicator and combining several indicators.

As a conclusion, authors present one option: combine three complementary approaches, as illustrated in Figure 1 below:

  1. a process-based approach to ensure the quality of the portfolio and appropriate outcomes are produced, monitored, and reported;
  2. an input-based approach to track changes in the portfolio toward more action on resilience; and
  3. a national-level indicator to track the progress of countries over time.