Review of resilience benchmarks and monitoring protocols


Dr Joanne Stevenson

Research Leader

Resilient Organisations Ltd



The scope of this work included a review of international indicators on resilience (and their suitability for natural hazard resilience adoption), work currently proceeding in New Zealand, and its application to the aims of the RNC Challenge proposal.

An important part of the RNC Challenge research programme is to map and monitor the trajectories of the various systems that contribute to New Zealand’s resilience. This research aimed to provide a foundation for understanding how we can benchmark the resilience of New Zealand’s systems and monitor resilience progress. In doing so, this work has produced an inclusive, up-to-date resource of theoretical and practical resilience frameworks and reviews of current resilience literature and relevant datasets. The deliverables produced as part of this short-term project will be used across the RNC Challenge to improve the usefulness, consistency and robustness of resilience benchmarking and monitoring.


Four sets of resources were produced during this project and are available to download:

Resilience Benchmarking and Monitoring Review

 Multi Capital Indicators Database

 Heuristic Guide for Selecting and Tailoring Resilience Measurement Suites

 Annotated review of Resilience Benchmarking literature


The Resilience Benchmarking and Monitoring Review (1) importantly develops the an overarching RNC Challenge definition of resilience as it pertains to disasters and natural hazard. Although a large number of articles grapple with the definition of resilience, a robust cross-disciplinary interpretation of the concept is needed to promote a common understanding. The review goes on to discuss:

  • conceptual questions raised by stakeholders during the expert consultation phase and those that emerged from the literature review;
  • operationalizing resilience to make practical changes for New Zealand communities;
  • a multi-capital framework that underpins the holistic approach to resilience assessment in the RNC Challenge.
  • a review and critique of frameworks and assessment and monitoring tools that may inform the resilience research agenda over the next several years; along with
  • emerging research plans and priorities.

This review was supported by the development of a Multi-capital Indicators Database (2) that identifies specific indicators of resilience grouped by theme. The attributes of each indicator are described in the context of data availability in New Zealand. As a snapshot in time, this database includes a range of resilience indicators identified during a review of current national and international literature, and interviews with a selection of key informants. The database provides a structure and foundation for ongoing resilience research in New Zealand and a platform for ongoing development.

In addition to the database and review, the project developed a Heuristic Guide for Selecting and Tailoring Resilience Measurement Suites (3). This guides the development of a cohesive approach to measurement across programmes and disciplines within the RNC Challenge to track progress towards a vison of resilient New Zealand. The paper introduces heuristics as a way to help researchers in complex study designs evaluate and select indicators for assessing and monitoring resilience across a number of systems. Heuristics support the transition between theory, measurement, and practice by providing researchers with a common decision-aid to prioritise and adapt what should be measured, and how that can realistically be achieved.

The final output in this suite is an annotated review of Resilience Benchmarking literature (4), that can be used as a guide for RNC Challenge participants and associates.