C40 Voices: Mandy Ikert, Director, Water and Adaptation Initiative

In the lead-up to next week’s C40 Mayors Summit, where Climate Adaptation and Resilience will be key themes, we hear from C40’s very own Mandy Ikert about an exciting new collaboration to help cities prepare for the shocks and stresses of climate change.

The Rockefeller Foundation recently launched the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge (100 RC) to enable 100 global cities to better withstand catastrophic events – both natural and manmade – and to bounce back more quickly and emerge stronger from these shocks and stresses.Of the initial 33 participating cities announced, there are 10 C40 cities who are established leaders in taking action on climate resilience: Bangkok, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Mexico City, New Orleans, New York, Rio, Rome, Rotterdam and San Francisco.

Given the importance of responding to climate change hazards in overall city resilience (which includes addressing a wide range of risks from public health threats, conflict scenarios to economic fluctuations), C40 is looking forward to collaborating with 100 RC to advance our mutual goal of helping cities build climate resilience.

C40’s newly elected Chair, Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes and Michael Berkowitz, Managing Director for 100 Resilient Cities at The Rockefeller Foundation, participated last month on a panel discussion at CGI Latin America, where they jointly highlighted the significance of resilience to urban revitalization and economic transformation.

Michael Berkowitz said: “Mayors tell us repeatedly that it is very easy to fund mitigation projects, and it is not so easy to fund adaptation or resilience projects. And that’s partly because it’s tough to measure how particular infrastructure enhances a city’s resilience. We need – and we are supporting the development of - a universal standard for measurement, which would go a long way to creating a sustainable marketplace for resilience measures, and at the same time motivate investors and cities alike.

Mayor Paes has expressed excitment about Rio’s capacity to link the resources of 100 RC to the new C40 Climate Risk Assessment network, and foster alignment. He said: ”Climate change is inevitable and C40 cities have been increasingly reporting how crucial it is to work towards increasing cities’ resilience. And the challenge in my own city, Rio de Janeiro, is not different. To have a global framework for identifying hazards and risks in cities is very important. It can support decision-making and increase the city’s accountability to reach resilience goals. In this regard, C40 is looking forward to joining efforts with Rockefeller and other global organizations to help build such a framework. Specifically for Rio, the partnership between our organizations is a strategic opportunity to further advance the Rio Resilience Plan. And the city is also committed to leading the knowledge dissemination process through both networks."

Arnoud Molenaar, Manager of Rotterdam Climate Proof and of the C40 Connecting Delta Cities Network, which the City of Rotterdam leads, said, “ We are very happy that Rotterdam now participates in the 100 RC group. We see it as an extra impulse to focus on adaptation and additionally prioritize other topics to become a resilient delta city. All members of the Connecting Delta City Network and others can benefit from this new Rockefeller Foundation initiative.”

The 10 participating C40 cities have an opportunity to share knowledge and resources with the larger 100 RC group, in turn becoming more empowered to take action to build resilience across the board. They will be able to tap the skills of the 100 RC Chief Resilience Officer as well as the programme’s platform services. Importantly, moreover, they will bring new ideas and lessons learnt to other C40 cities in the three C40 adaptation networks: Climate Risk Assessment, Connecting Delta Cities, and Cool Cities. C40 and 100 RC also are exploring the alignment of their respective city climate risk and resilience frameworks. This collaboration will allow cities globally to more easily navigate the various approaches available to develop their resilience in the face of local and global changes.

Congratulations to the new group of 100 RC - we look forward to working closely to support you in your continued climate resilience efforts, and sharing your work throughout the C40 network.