Juliet Mian looks back at the first quarter of 2021 and shares highlights of our work at the start of this year including our focus on reaching out to create more partnerships to accelerate more resilience for more people in more communities.
With the long shadow of Covid throughout 2020, as we look back at our first quarter of 2021, it’s clear that while some countries seem to be emerging from the worst, the pandemic is still creating turmoil as others are hit by new waves of infection.
We continue therefore to virtually engage with our growing community, and this quarter was exceptionally busy for us with many outputs from work last year coming to fruition, and new initiatives and partnerships being announced.
A key milestone for us was the step change in scale and scope brought through our strategic partnership with Resilience First. The Resilience First network brings business from a whole range of sectors, who are committed to enhancing their resilience. We’re excited to work closely with these businesses along with our engineering-led coalition, ICSI, and our wider community of practice. It’s a very exciting opportunity for us to scale up our work and sets the context for the year to come as we build towards COP26.
Highlights from this spring include the publication of the Engineering a Safer Future series of topical podcasts and reports, produced in partnership with the Lloyd’s Register Foundation and their grantee community. The publications resulted from last year’s work to learn from crisis that included a series of reflective conversations with some impressive individuals. They explore the disruptive nature of the Covid crisis and the opportunities for change it might bring for key strategic sectors connected to the Foundation’s programme of activities.
Seth Schultz continued to tour the ICE’s Brunel lecture to regions worldwide, with insights and expert comment from the panels and audiences in East Asia, Europe and the Middle East. We are looking forward to the tour’s next hosts in the Americas and in Africa. See programme.
We’re proud and excited to see the City Water Resilience Approach continuing to roll out around the world as our partnership with the World Resources Institute, Arup and the Resilient Cities Network takes the approach to urban water resilience to six city regions in Africa, starting with three this spring. In Ethiopia, Addis Ababa workshops began with stakeholders – we’ll be sharing the outcome of the initial phase shortly, and the initiative also launched in Kigali.
We also formally launched our initiative on climate resilient infrastructure guidance, now called Infrastructure Pathways. We will showcase what is available, make it accessible and connected and support the shift to climate resilience throughout the infrastructure lifecycle. We are inviting potential users of this guidance to contribute to the requirements gathering and to join the technical and user panels.
Finally, our initiative Resilience4Ports published a comprehensive report setting out the challenges for the resilience of ports, and proposing four areas of action for whole system resilience developed with the stakeholders we brought together in the initial scoping phase of this work. We’ll be taking this forward this year as ports provide a huge opportunity to become low carbon resilient gateways – if all stakeholders can work together.
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Things we like this spring:
We supported the comprehensive report by the Coalition on Urban Transitions which was launched in March with country launches to follow over the year. Seizing the Urban Opportunity sets out very clearly why investing in the sustainability and resilience of cities pays big dividends for national governments and creates many co-benefits.
The ICE and WFEO collaborated for World Engineering Day on a fantastic series of climate stories from around the world which we have been sharing week by week – giving real insight into the work of colleagues building resilience worldwide and the varying challenges they face.
The ASCE launched its Infrastructure Report Card for US infrastructure, earning it a C- ahead of the Biden investment plan. Its’s a really interesting and detailed picture.
The ICE is seeking Carbon Champions – asking people to send in their success stories.
ADB report on whole system approach – A System-Wide Approach for Infrastructure Resilience: Technical Note. This technical note is a call for action to improve how climate-related financial risks are considered in infrastructure planning and investments.
World Bank report on unlocking private investment – Unlocking Private Investment in Climate Adaptation and Resilience. This report offers a blueprint for action for governments to catalyse private investment in climate adaptation and resilience.
UNEP Good practice report – The International Good Practice Principles for Sustainable Infrastructure report set out ten guiding principles that policymakers can follow to help integrate sustainability into infrastructure planning and delivery.
UN Handbook Managing Infrastructure Assets for Sustainable Management – This handbook includes references to interesting work with UNOPS in Bangladesh, and work by the broader international development community on sanitation in Cox’s Bazaar.
Climate adaptation platform – How Can Governments Prepare for and Manage High Impact Risks – this platform looks at how governments need to adequately invest in pre-emptive measures to enhance resilience and prepare for extreme climate events and threats.