Remarks by Dr. Judith Rodin at the 100 Resilient Cities Announcement in Singapore
December 3, 2014
I want to start by thanking the Mayors and city representatives who are joining us from cities near and far, some representing cities who have been with us for the past year, and others who lead the cities joining us today.
I’d also like to recognize the Chief Resilience Officers, or CROs as we call them, in the audience. A year ago, this job didn’t exist. Yet, those early pioneers in the role have already achieved great results for their cities, and are already lighting the path for the cities and CROs set to join their ranks. Thank you all.
And finally, we’re joined by several of our platform partners—companies and organizations bringing their innovations in both products and services to enable 100 Resilient Cities Network Cities to put their resilience strategies into action.
With us today, and being announced as partners for the first time, we have:
Microsoft, whose Global and Security Strategy and Diplomacy team will provide cities with a set of cybersecurity indicators and work with cities to create a custom action plan to strengthen and secure their information systems and infrastructure—critical to building resilience against the rise in cyber attacks on our institutions.
CSIRO, an Australian research organization, which will provide future climate projections and tools tailored to cities’ needs for urban planning, building and infrastructure design and development.
The Population and Community Development Association, providing Southeast Asian cities with resources for family planning, sexual health, and youth leadership training, among others.
Cisco Systems, which will provide technical assistance to identify, develop and implement solutions that improve the utility and efficacy of a city’s public assets through the use of information and communications technology.
MWH Global, a leading engineering, construction and management firm, which will provide planning and implementation advice and support for cities—especially in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East—around water-related infrastructure.
And finally, The New Starlight Foundation’s Construction Company, which will provide financing for capacity building and collaboration around resilient infrastructure among public sector, academia, the private sector, and civil society.
Welcome, all, to the 100 Resilient Cities family.
When we first launched the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge last year, we had no template for what the ideal application might look like.
That was by design. We wanted cities to speak for themselves, to reflect on their greatest assets and most pressing vulnerabilities, to come together to create shared solutions, and to chart a path forward unique to each city’s goals.
We were thrilled by the amount of interest we received. But we were even more impressed with the level of thought and detail that went into almost every application.
It wasn’t an easy decision. But with the guidance of our distinguished judges, we selected a first round of cities diverse in geography, population, and aspiration.
The 100 Resilient Cities team immediately set to work early this year, logging hundreds of thousands of air miles, and hundreds of planning hours with each of the 32 cities.
Each city hosted introductory workshops with stakeholders from every part of society. These were as enlightening as they were popular, providing many cities the first opportunity to really come together and talk about these shared challenges in a collaborative and productive way.
Needs were identified. Ideas emerged. Plans took shape.
Chief Resilience Officers were identified and in many city governments, departments were reorganized and processes recalibrated. CROs also got to work engaging community members, private sector, and others.
But what has been most exciting, perhaps, is not what is happening within individual cities, but what is happening between them.
Medellin is tapping seismic expertise in San Francisco and Christchurch to prepare for an inevitable high-magnitude earthquake.
New Orleans is working with Rotterdam to better understand how to live with water.
Mega cities like Mexico City, Rio, Bangkok and New York are together grappling with issues of growth, water management, and inequality.
And so when we opened the second round of the challenge, we knew we wanted cities that were not only committed to their own deep work but were equally as enthusiastic about learning from and engaging with one another.
We were not disappointed.
More than 80 percent of the 330 applications we received indicated excitement to partner with other cities in their resilience efforts.
Applications were equally amazing in their diversity and scope…
representing 90 countries on six continents…
with populations ranging from 50,000 to well over ten million.
Applications were written in seven different languages.
And notably, 70 percent came from the developing world.
Once again we faced a tough decision.
And working once again with a distinguished panel of judges, a final winning group of 35 cities emerged.
In alphabetical order, the newest cities we welcome to the 100 Resilient Cities Network are:
Boston, United States
Chicago, United States
Dallas, United States
London, United Kingdom
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Pittsburgh, United States
San Juan, United States
Santa Fe, Argentina
Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic
St. Louis, United States
Tulsa, United States
Wellington City, New Zealand
With the addition of the cities just announced, one-fifth of the world’s urban population—more than 700 million people—now lives in a city that is part of the 100 Resilient Cities Network.
And we’re not done yet.
Next year, we’ll announce the final group of cities to bring the total up to 100.
But for these cities just announced, the work begins today. And we can’t wait to get started.
To talk a bit more about the road ahead, I want to welcome Michael Berkowitz back to the stage.