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Aine Ni Bhreasail

Aine Ni Bhreasail

Posts by Aine Ni Bhreasail

SuRe® – learning from the successful creation of a global resilience standard

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The Resilience Shift interviewed Katharina Schneider-Roos from Global Infrastructure Basel (GIB) on the development and adoption of SuRe® – The Standard for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure.

We recently visited GIB in Basel to discuss the delivery of our project Tools and Approaches. While there, we were interested to learn more about how SuRe® was developed and how it has grown a community of practice around the world.

After three years of continuous development, the first certifiable version of SuRe® – The Standard for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure version 1.0, was released at COP23 in Bonn.

We asked Katharina Schneider-Roos to give us an overview of the SuRe® standard.


SuRe® is the Standard for Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure. We started to develop it three years ago and it was published last year. 

SuRe® was based on another tool we did called GIB Grading. We assessed about 200 projects globally with the GIB Grading and we learned that investors were looking more for a third party certified standard as the GIB Grading tool was a self-assessment tool. That’s why we changed it and took the big step of making it into a full standard in ISEAL.


The Resilience Shift is interested in understanding how SuRe® can have a positive impact in embedding sustainability and resilience principles within projects. We are also following keenly the next steps that GIB is taking in ensuring that SuRe® becomes widely adopted.


More about the SuRe® standard

SuRe® is a global voluntary standard which integrates key criteria of sustainability and resilience into infrastructure development and upgrade, through 14 themes covering 61 criteria across governance, social and environmental factors.

It aims to establish a common language and understanding of sustainable and resilient infrastructure projects between project developers, financiers, local authorities; and to provide guidance on how to manage those aspects.

It can be used to leverage both public and private investments in infrastructure in a way that ensures cost-effective access to critical services while strengthening resilience, maximising social benefits and limiting the environmental footprint.

It applies to infrastructure projects across different types of infrastructure and relies on independent verification and certification by third parties. It builds upon existing work advancing sustainability standards.


We asked Katharina Schneider-Roos to explain how they are laying the foundations for wide adoption of the SuRe® standard.


Q: Could you tell me about the community you built around SURE?

KS-R: GIB started off doing summits with about 500 disciplines where we tried to bring together stakeholders who were, at that time in 2011/12, interested in the topic of sustainable and resilient infrastructure that was then pretty new. From that crowd we drew stakeholders for the SuRe stakeholder council and the SuRe standard committee. As we had set up a structure behind SuRe, it was easier for us to start that process as we already had a very big network of stakeholders interested in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, like developers, investors, development banks, city networks and so on.


Global Infrastructure Basel (GIB) Foundation is a Swiss foundation based in Basel working to promote sustainable and resilient infrastructure through sustainable infrastructure design and financing on a global scale.


Working with us:

GIB is one of the Resilience Shift’s numerous collaborators and we are constantly on the lookout for ideas and suggestions that can help us to shift the thinking and practice of critical infrastructure resilience. You can also subscribe to our blog and Twitter feed to get our updates directly.

Categories: Knowledge Spotlight

Learning from others with Imperial College’s Industry Showcase

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(c) Imperial College - Campus Shots R1 - 20 - 08 -2013

(c) Imperial College

The Resilience Shift is constantly trying to learn from those at the forefront of thinking related to resilience, which is why I  recently went to the Imperial College London Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation Industry Showcase event, on 7 September 2018.

The theme was “Infrastructure interdependencies in London – how to overcome complexity to drive productivity and enable sustainable urban growth?”.

Dr David Hancock from Infrastructure Projects Authority spoke about transforming construction and made an interesting comparison between change and transformation which resonated with the Resilience Shift way of thinking. He pointed out that change is incremental and fixes the past, whereas transformation is radical and creates the future. It is this radical transformation that is required to shift resilience from theory to practice.

A series of burst presentations gave a flavour of the research carried out at the Centre, ranging from research on emergency evacuation operations management in large, complex public occupancy buildings (Georgia Bateman) to systems engineering applications for water management (Dr Ana Mijic).

A second keynote came from Dame Judith Hackitt, who is the author of the landmark “Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety”. She gave an overview of her report and some key insights including the fact that no one has been looking at the regulations for high rise buildings as a system therefore there was no understanding of conflicts in the system or where the weaknesses and gaps were. Other industries, such as chemical engineering, have been using systems approaches for many years and if this knowledge is shared across disciplines change can be accelerated.

Finally, Dame Hackitt was joined on a panel by a variety of speakers from across construction industry in London including Mark Farmer (Cast Consultancy), Jaimie Johnston (Bryden Wood), Adam Locke (Laing O’Rourke) and Peter Vale (Tideway). They discussed how to simplify processes to cope with infrastructure interdependencies an in this positive discussion many solutions were put forward.

Most importantly, as echoed throughout the day, the common theme was of the need to get people out of their silos and working together.

With thanks to the team at Imperial for an inspiring day.

Categories: Events Knowledge

Shaping the city water resilience framework assessment tool

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The second day of the Global Knowledge Exchange was all about shaping the City Water Resilience Framework assessment tool. Teams from the Resilience Shift and the City Water Resilience Framework hosted a number of sessions throughout the day.

Inigo Ruiz-Apilanez and George Beane gave a detailed overview on the fieldwork conducted in Amman, Mexico City, Hull, Cape Town and Miami, and how the data collected was interpreted.

They explained the methodology to incorporate the participant’ efforts and contributions and it was clear the cities’ contributions were translated in a robust way to inform the development of the assessment tool.

Following this we broke out into groups and the 30+ experts from more than ten countries and different organisations and backgrounds discussed which are the key goals and indicators to understand, frame and assess water resilience in cities. The amount of knowledge, and experience that brought together meant that the quality of feedback being received was invaluable.

Measurability and relevance of indicators ranging from transparent and flexible procurement processes to innovative financing were discussed.

The interesting perspective of representatives from cities including Rotterdam, Manchester and Thessaloniki provided new contributions that will also lead to further iterations of the assessment tool.

We’ll share more from the event subsequently. Find out more by subscribing to our blog or by following us on twitter.

Categories: Events

Hearing how water resilience connects Miami, Mexico City, Amman, Hull, Cape Town

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Over the next 3 days the Global Knowledge Exchange is bringing together City and other stakeholders to share best practice and co-design final project outputs for the City Water Resilience Framework (CWRF) (100 Resilient Cities) and the Resilience Shift's Governance for Resilient Water Systems (Lloyd's Register Foundation) projects.  Aine Nibhreasail shares news from Day 1's session on cities.

 Water resilience is the issue that connects our cities across the globe. Today we heard 

  • 1 in every 10 glasses of water in Cape Town is through desalination.
  • Miami estimates are 70% greater impact onto infrastructure if it wasn’t for natural systems attenuating storm surges.
  • 95% of Hull City is below high tide level…climate change predictions illustrate that if we don’t invest most of our city will be under water.
  • Jordan is one of the most water scarce countries in the world…the water system uses 20% of energy as there are massive interdependencies with the energy system.
  • Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world now (22 million people) and has seen a transformation from a lake basin to a dried basin.


The Global Knowledge Exchange opened this morning with introductions from Ruth Boumphrey (Director of research at Lloyd’s Register Foundation), Juliet Mian (Technical Director of the Resilience Shift) and Mark Fletcher (Global Water Leader at Arup).

The exchange of knowledge started with presentations from Cape Town, Miami, Amman, Hull and Mexico telling us about the water systems in their cities. They are subject to a variety of shocks and stresses, ranging from severe drought to sea level rise and flash flooding.

The five cities shared inspiring success stories.

Cayley Green explained how the Day Zero campaign in Cape Town managed to reduce water consumption by 50% in 3 years.

Hull’s Alex Codd highlighted the successful multi-agency collaboration between Hull City Council, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency.

Debbie Griner from Miami set out how their robust system to monitor salt front migration works in almost real time.

Participants heard from the Resilience Shift’s Alexa Bruce about the remarkable capacity of individuals working in the Amman water sector to respond to cascading interdependencies.

Finally, Arnoldo Matus Kramer from Mexico City shared their water strategy for urban development. It will allow them to balance the needs and growth of other basins that Mexico relies on, and recognise trade-offs of different actions.

The lively panel discussion chaired by Fred Boltz also included Diego Rodriguez (World Bank, Mexico) and Tariq Kaawash (Amman) and over the next 3 days the Global Knowledge Exchange is bringing together these City and other stakeholders to share best practice and co-design final project outputs for the City Water Resilience Framework and Governance for Resilient Water Systems projects.

Follow our event on @resilienceshift or subscribe to our blog for more about the work of the Resilience Shift. The event is being hosted by Lloyd's Register Foundation.


Categories: Events

MMI, Schumacher Institute and Dr Igor Linkov appointed to work with us

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We are delighted to announce that we have appointed three grantees to work with us on our ‘Tools and approaches’ project, contributing to our ‘Ways to make resilience tangible, practical and relevant’ workstream. We had a lot of very high quality, interesting responses to our call for expression of interest and had a tough time choosing partners.

We wanted to explain a bit more of our decision-making process so everyone could see how we got to where we are.

From the 35 responses we received we shortlisted 8, based on the following criteria:

  • Depth of their domain knowledge
  • Breadth of knowledge in terms of number of sectors covered
  • Their geographic and social reach – how many geographic locations do they cover and had they worked with the informal sector?
  • Experience of framework assessment
  • Convening power
  • Evidence of their influence
  • Evidence of their collaboration

The assessors for this were from the Resilience Shift team, and an external assessment was made by our Technical Advisory Group.

We interviewed our shortlist over the phone regarding their interest and capability to work in this area. All of the interviewees were outstanding and we felt they brought different strengths to the table.

Our selected grantees are:

  • MMI Engineering who bring expertise on the Value Chain concept and experience of using different tools and approaches to assess resilience across the world;
  • The Schumacher Institute who will advise on human-centred design, implementation science and will facilitate workshops; and
  • Dr Igor Linkov, risk and decision scientist at the US Army Corps of Engineers, Adjunct Professor at Carnegie Mellon and consultant at Factor Social, who will provide technical expertise.

We also plan to use our shortlist to appoint conveners for workshops in this project. We would like to reiterate our thanks to everyone who has taken the time to apply to our EOI. We will actively look for ways to engage with those applicants that we felt could contribute to our work going forward.

Please get in touch if you have any questions relating to this project.

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