Friday, May 8, 2020

City of Houston joins resilient recovery planning from COVID-19 pandemic

Houston, like other urban communities around the world, is experiencing the dramatic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Urban citizens and in particular the poor are deeply affected by both the effects of containment measures and the further exacerbation of chronic stresses, like access to water and sanitation services, adequate jobs and safe and healthy food.

“Resilient Houston provides a framework for how we can build back better together as we take individual and collective actions to recover from COVID-19,” said Marissa Aho, City of Houston’s Chief Resilience Officer. “I am proud to co-lead these efforts as a member of the Global Steering Committee for the Global Resilient Cities Network and want to encourage other cities in Texas to join the Cities for a Resilient Recovery coalition.” 

Responding to the imperative to mobilize collective action for a better “day after” COVID-19, on May 7th Chief Resilience Officers from the Global Resilient Cities Network are launching a global Coalition to support cities to strengthen the resilience of their city systems and leave no one behind as they stand on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While cities are working to respond to this pandemic, we are seeing an overwhelming demand from cities to work together on a resilient recovery – and to fix the broken systems that exacerbated the impacts of the virus on our vulnerable communities. The members of the Global Resilient Cities Network trust one another’s knowledge and experience and we are committed to making this available to address the complex challenges of COVID-19, the resilience challenge of our generation.” said Lauren Sorkin, Acting Executive Director of GRCN.

The “Cities for a Resilient Recovery” (C2R) initiative offers a participatory platform to all interested cities, including the 98 member cities of the GRCN and other urban centers that are willing to engage in short- and long-term planning for a sustained resilient recovery.

“The principle of a resilient recovery is simple: as we rebuild from the current crisis, we must also prepare for future shocks. Both COVID-19 and climate change are massive challenges that require transformative solutions on a global scale. This network will provide an invaluable forum for cities around the world to grow stronger together through sustained partnership and collaboration,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency.

Through GRCN, C2R will align partners like World Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, and The University of Manchester, existing programs and resources to support cities to achieve the aims of their initiatives, and to prioritize actions and investments with the highest resilience value. By offering accessible and relevant data, and planning tools and expertise, it will enable urban resilience leaders and innovators to seize this opportunity to strengthen city systems and improve the lives of millions for years to come.
 
“This pandemic has highlighted the importance of collaboration to address systemic vulnerabilities at a city level. This inclusive initiative will enable access to knowledge and information, to act today and build a better future for urban global communities.” said Grainia Long, Commissioner for Resilience of the city of Belfast.
 
As city leaders around the world are already talking about building a resilient future, we invite them to join the Coalition to work together in the resilience challenge of our time.
To learn more and join the Coalition visit: www.resilientcitiesnetwork.org/recovery
 
About the Global Resilient Cities Network
The Global Resilient Cities Network (GRCN) is the city-led organization that is driving urban resilience action to protect vulnerable communities from climate change and other physical, social and economic urban adversities and challenges. With support from The Rockefeller Foundation and other funding strategic partners, the Network aims to continue supporting cities and their Chief Resilience Officers in future-proofing their communities and critical infrastructure with a unique reach, strength and legacy to understand and support the challenges of the ever-growing urban society.

About the City of Houston’s Resilience Office
Marissa Aho, the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) for the City of Houston, leads the city’s resilience efforts including the development and implementation the Resilient Houston strategy, launched in February 2020 Resilient Houston is focused on building resilience at every scale and is organized into five chapters, 18 goals and targets and 62 actions. Each chapter identifies actions for increasing the resilience of Houstonians, our neighborhoods, our bayous, our city, and our region.