Resilience Shift Technical Director, Dr Juliet Mian, reflects on our progress this quarter and looks forward to the end of the year with news of Ports, the Brunel lecture, and urban water resilience to be front of mind for the end of the year, including the launch of the new Cape Town Day Zero learning resources and next steps for the City Water Resilience Approach.
The autumn is well upon us now in the northern hemisphere, with dark evenings, and the clocks about to go back. Our thoughts are looking to the end of the year, and some significant announcements to come, and to our new and exciting plans for 2021 onwards. More about those later but first I’d like to look back a little and consider just how much we have achieved since the summer.
Like many others we have been involved in virtual events non-stop and looking back, they reflect a huge variety highlighting our broad cross-sector scope and our work to engage with the whole critical infrastructure value chain. This has brought us opportunities to talk about resilience simultaneously with a wide range of global communities.
I was honoured to be invited to present at Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Asia-Pacific Transport Forum on the importance of upstream actions for resilience, and at the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Initiative on infrastructure-led community resilience. Meanwhile Seth Schultz also travelled the world virtually, speaking at a GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) event on governance, a British American Business webinar on post-Covid infrastructure finance, and numerous other events including chairing events for the Coalition for Urban Transitions, and Lloyd’s Register Foundation.
We were extremely proud to support the launch of this paper by the Coalition for Urban Transitions that is of genuine significance and high quality. It sets out investment priorities for national governments post-Covid to boost their economies by greening the global recovery through cities, contributing to long-term resilience and sustainability. We continue to talk about its valuable insights through our ongoing collaborations with CUT and others, along with the various partners and the respected authors, at events such as, most recently, ICLEI Daring Cities.
Seth opened the first panel debate at the Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s Digital Summit 2020: The Future of Global Safety, that proved an excellent event with many insights. The focus of this debate was our work to ‘learn from crisis’ and Seth previewed our new report: ‘Resilient Leadership: learning from crisis’. This has now been published with a launch event that amplified the themes from TED Countdown and highlighted how leadership must transform itself to be more resilient to lead at times of crisis and to build organisational long-term resilience. Over this year, Covid-19 has never far away from our minds but we also seized the opportunity to map a crisis in real-time and our initiative on resilient leadership did just that, following the day to day challenges of senior leaders as they navigated their way through the pandemic.
Our strong and fruitful partnership with Lloyd’s Register Foundation has also resulted in a learning from crisis series on Engineering a safer future, exploring disruption through expert discussions on Infrastructure, Education, Data, Safety at Work, and on the Public Understanding of Risk. It brought together lead grantees from The Foundation, together with thought leaders, with the ambition of building some collective consensus about the impact of the Covid crisis on specific sectors, the value of disruption in creating a window of opportunity for transformative change, and exploring other emerging challenges and opportunities to build resilience.
September was a clash of events and zoom diaries with UN Climate Week, a Mission Innovation Cities event where we spoke about Ports, the GCoM and partners’ innovative City Climate Finance GAP Fund launch, and the WEF Sustainability Summit as well as Resilience First’s event on climate and insurance. All of these events were a solid reminder that decarbonisation and resilience must go hand in hand, and all solutions towards net zero must consider both mitigation and adaptation to be truly impactful.
We have started talking more about Ports, building on our earlier work to host a roundtable on the challenges for the industry, our research into global supply chains and our work to capture best practice for resilience for the ports sector, published in the Ports primer. Our next step has been to launch our project kick off meetings for the Resilience4Ports work that will focus on bringing all stakeholders together to build cross-sector whole system resilience.
We were delighted to see our friends and colleagues out and about at events too. In the southern hemisphere we saw Tracy Hatton speaking about the fantastic work her organisation Resilient Organisations did on the Potable Water Primer at the NZ Lifelines event. While in Hull, Yorkshire, Arup’s Dr Mark Fletcher was also speaking about water resilience at the UK’s respected Waterlines conference.
Looking forward, urban water resilience will be a big theme for us for the autumn with the redevelopment of the Cape Town Day Zero learning resources, going live with their new website enabling users to easily explore retrospective insights and reflections from those in charge at the time of the City’s water crisis. It launches at the same time as a global coalition inspired by Capetonians’ changing water consumption behaviours goes live with the 50L homes campaign.
And Africa is not far from our minds as we look forward to supporting the application of the City Water Resilience Approach to lower and middle income economies. More to come on that soon.
Back to even more exciting things to look forward to – we are delighted to announce Seth Schulz will be giving the prestigious Brunel lecture tour for the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) with his first lecture on 2 December. His talk, entitled: ‘21st Century leadership is partnership: How a coalition of the world’s engineers can change the world’ will be intentionally provocative – focused on the need for the engineering community to step up in the face of all the challenges we face, in particular from climate change.
We are very much looking forward to his virtual tour and to engaging in conversation with engineers around the globe.
Things we like:
The films from the TED Countdown event are now available, along with the Count-us-in campaign to engage individuals with steps they can take to contribute to net zero, and cumulatively to cut carbon and build a sustainable society. We particularly like Karen Scrivener and Tom Schuler talking about the future of concrete and the wonderful and inspiring Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr talking about one million trees for Freetown ‘Treetown’.
This picture, created by graphic designer Roman Svidran for our Resilience4Ports initiative, illustrating the complexities of the ports decarbonisation and resilience challenge and the many interdependencies between ports, port cities, transport networks, end users, shipping, and the energy industry.
The new website from ICSI – the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure. Set up only last year, the Coalition’s first anniversary summit will highlight progress from its various action tracks. The Resilience Shift is a founding partner for the Coalition.
This article in Engineering and Technology featuring Arup’s Heleni Pantelidou talking about planetary boundaries and thinking about more than just carbon emission.