Panorama of Brickell Key Bridge, Maimi. Jimmy Baikovicius, Flickr, CC2.0.

The CRO’s Mandate

The following is an excerpt of an op-ed by 100RC President Michael Berkowitz, published by the Miami Herald on October 20, in which Berkowitz addresses the recent establishments of Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) positions by Miami-Dade County and Miami Beach, USA. Read the full text here.

Miami-Dade County, and Miami Beach, recently established Chief Resilience Officers (CRO). This puts Miami-Dade in a unique position as one of the few, if only, counties on the planet to incorporate this position into municipal government.

While a groundbreaking step, this decision comes with many pressures. The impetus behind establishing a CRO was to address the impact of climate change — an important acknowledgment of the dangers Miami-Dade and the state of Florida face as storms become more frequent and intense, and sea levels rise. The affects of climate change are not just felt through storms, but through higher food prices, unreliable energy sources, immigration issues and a host of other concerns. These are real risks, and they cannot be ignored.

However, addressing the risks alone should not occupy the agenda of Miami-Dade’s resilience-building efforts and the county’s new CRO. Resilience cannot be built by focusing on one aspect of a city’s risks, but rather by establishing a holistic viewpoint on how issues interconnect.

Resilience speaks to the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow, no matter the chronic stresses — like decaying infrastructure and lack of economic opportunity — or acute shocks, such as a hurricane or flood. A CRO needs to build connections across not just various departments of municipal government, but across an entire ecosystem of people and places.

Miami-Dade has a tremendous opportunity to adopt the approach of these municipalities and the work 100RC is pioneering. Climate change alone should not dictate the agenda of any CRO. Instead, by broadening the mandate of this new position, the county can reap real benefits and expand the impacts it can have on other regions wrestling with these issues.