Investing in Resilience is Investing in the Future

Three years ago, 100 Resilient Cities was pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation with an ambitious goal: to help cities across the globe build resilience to the mounting social, economic, and physical challenges of the 21st century. While we have just reached the 100 city milestone, and there is of course much left to do, it is important to note that resilience is already working.

The Growth of the Chief Resilience Officer Worldwide

While 100RC conceived of and funded Chief Resilience Officers (CRO) throughout its network cities across the globe, the initiative’s momentum has inspired cities and governments worldwide to hire their own, without the support of 100RC. Over the course of the last year, CROs have been established and funded in:

  • The State of Victoria, Australia;
  • The State of Oregon, USA;
  • Miami-Dade County, Florida;
  • Dauphin County, Pennsylvania;
  • Brownsville, Texas;
  • Hampton, Virginia;
  • Minot, North Dakota;
  • Balangoda, Sri Lanka;

10 Percent Resilience Pledge

Vejle’s Mayor Arne Sigtenbjerggaard (left) and Chief Resilience Officer Jonas Kroustrup (right) with 100 Resilient Cities President Michael Berkowitz (center)

Over 20 cities across the globe have agreed to dedicate 10% of their entire budgets – representing more than $5.5 billion (USD) – to resilience planning in their own communities. This is the largest announcement of its kind and represents a significant financial investment.

Moody’s Credit Rating Determinations Now Consider Resilience Planning

According to ratings giant Moody’s, 100RC’s role in Norfolk, VA could help Norfolk and the other cities in the Hampton Roads region maintain its credit rating in the face of increasingly frequent flooding and storms. The report details the regional approach to mitigating flood risk and boosting resilience in the Hampton Roads, VA region, led in part by 100RC city Norfolk. This work is recognized as mitigating potential credit risks for Norfolk and the region, and thus helping to stabilize credit worthiness for the region. The recognition of demonstrable positive financial impact of resilience building is both a key milestone and validator of 100RC’s resilience work.

Norfolk’s comprehensive approach to resilience, including its work to mitigate future risks, is helping maintain credit worthiness for the city and the entire region.

Spurring innovation in the private sector

In January 2016, SwissRe (the world’s second-largest reinsurer) and Veolia (a transnational service and utility giant) announced a partnership with 100RC network cities to understand the risk exposure of critical assets under current and future climate scenarios. Based on these assessments, cities can develop resilience plans to lessen the risk of these assets being affected, and simultaneously reduce their risk exposure over time. This partnership will not only arm cities with new tools to deal with the constantly evolving risks they face, but will also ensure the livability and vibrancy of cities by building their economic and physical resilience. Commitment to resilience building from SwissRe and Veolia, along with the other platform partners that comprise 100RC’s best-in-class services for network cities, demonstrates the degree to which resilience has both been absorbed into the ventures of and resonated as a worthy investment for leading international companies.

$1 Billion Commitment To Resilience Projects Through National Disaster Resilience Competition

In early 2016, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded states and cities across the country funds through the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC). Among the awardees were New York City, New Orleans, and Norfolk – all members of the 100RC network of cities.  The funding included:

  • $176 million for New York City
  • $141 for the City of New Orleans
  • $93 million for the State of Louisiana
  • $121 for Virginia (in an application spearheaded by Norfolk).

The funding went to projects that were laid out in each city’s resilience strategy and demonstrated the power of having a single unifying document that serves as a magnet for investing in the community.

To learn more about 100 Resilient Cities and our work building resilience with cities around the world, be sure to sign up for updates.