100 Resilient Cities Convenes ‘CoLab’ on Water as a Component of Cape Town Resilience

Collaboration Workshop (CoLab) on Building a Water Resilient City Convenes Partners, Subject Matter Advisors, and City Representatives to Drive Innovation and Introduce Pathways to Enhance Urban Resilience

CoLab Precedes Launch of City’s Preliminary Resilience Assessment and Feeds into Development of Comprehensive Resilience Strategy

Cape Town, South Africa – In the context of a partnership toward building a more resilient Cape Town, 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) is hosting a Collaboration Workshop (CoLab) on Building a Water Resilient City this week. The CoLab, to be attended by international partners and experts, representatives from city governments, and other member cities from the 100RC global network, will take a cross-sectoral approach to building and identifying innovative and collaborative solutions and practices needed to bridge gaps endemic to highly complex, systemic urban issues. The CoLab runs September 18-20 at GreenCape, a sector development organisation funded by the City of Cape Town.

This is the first CoLab to be run in Africa, building off of previous workshops on economic development, school infrastructure, and public transportation held over the past year in cities across Europe, South America, and North America.

The multi-year drought shock that Cape Town is currently experiencing is an opportunity to more comprehensively think about water system resilience and to catalyse change through introducing alternative, resilient pathways guided by sustainability. The CoLab is expected to drive innovation and identify solutions toward fortifying the resilience of Cape Town’s water system and the city’s wider resilience for years to come.

“Cape Town has shown certain characteristics of resilience during the drought, but much more needs to be done before we can truly regard Cape Town as a water resilient city. What the City of Cape Town and its people have achieved during the drought is remarkable, but we must ensure that the lessons we learnt during the drought are retained, and make us better prepared for future shock events,” said Councillor Xanthea Limberg, Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services.

“Cape Town is not alone: water-related hazards like floods, droughts, pollution, and related issues are increasing in frequency and intensity, impacting more than 80% of 100RC member cities worldwide,” said Liz Agbor-Tabi, Associate Director for City Resilience Delivery at 100 Resilient Cities. “The CoLab is a unique opportunity to explore how water ties into Cape Town’s larger social, economic, and political ecosystem – with the aim of fostering a stronger, more resilient city.”

A 100RC CoLab is a collaborative, expedited process between municipal government, subject matter experts, and members of the 100RC Platform of Partners. The 100RC Platform is a curated suite of resilience-building tools and services, provided by partners from the private, public, academic, and non-profit sectors at no direct cost to member cities. 100RC Partners at the Cape Town CoLab include: Arup, Deltares, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, The Nature Conservancy, Swiss Re, Veolia, and WWF South Africa, with additional collaboration from the SA SDI Alliance and The Resilience Shift. Also attending the event to contribute their cities’ experience are representatives from fellow 100RC members Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Addis Ababa.

The City of Cape Town is currently in the process of developing its first Resilience Strategy with support from 100 Resilient Cities. The City will launch its Preliminary Resilience Assessment, a robust analysis of Cape Town’s resilience opportunities and challenges, on Friday. Findings reveal drought, rainfall flooding, unemployment, and substance abuse as top concerns among more than 150 thematic specialists consulted and over 11 000 residents surveyed in the months-long assessment process. Challenges incorporate one-time shock events as well as stresses that weaken the urban fabric on a day to day or cyclical basis.

“Water management is a crucial component of Cape Town’s resilience-building process, but it cannot be addressed in a silo,” said Gareth Morgan, Director of Resilience in the City of Cape Town’s Corporate Services Directorate. “Our city’s vulnerability to climate shocks has distinct implications for a growing population shouldering high rates of unemployment, poverty, and a lack of affordable housing. Although daunting, these challenges are also our greatest opportunities.”

The CoLab will explore the impacts of drought and water insecurity on the city’s resilience, understand underlying causes and barriers, and utilise the collective experience and knowledge of the local and international participants to develop concrete courses of action – to help Cape Town’s water system become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges of the present and future. Apart from advancing thought leadership on the topic of water system resilience, the resulting practical recommendations and technical, multi-disciplinary resources will inform the development of Cape Town’s Resilience Strategy.

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For further information, please contact:

Nicole Bohrer-Kaplan
NBohrer@100RC.org / 646-612-7177

About 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation 

100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a resilience strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org.