Setting the scene for a year of transformation

Juliet Mian, Deputy Executive Director and Technical Director of our initiative, looks back over highlights from the last quarter and at what we have learned together.


Looking back at the final months of 2020, they were incredibly busy, productive and rewarding for the Resilience Shift team. There were several key successes for us along with other activities designed to lay the foundations for our 2021 ambitions.

2020 certainly reinforced the importance of resilience, and once again reminded us that there is plenty more to learn. The mantra that there is no silver bullet to enhancing resilience has never been more evident.

As a team, we learned how to work differently, and we learned the importance of reflection and listening, where solutions are not immediately obvious. We also learned, or re-learned, the truth of being part of a wider system, and needing the system to pull through the crisis, not just individual elements. Our team, our board, our collaborators and our partners are the reason we are facing 2021 with optimism and positivity – it has been, and will continue to be, a truly collective effort.

Highlights from the last quarter of 2020 include:

  • Concluding the first phase of the innovative initiative on Resilient Leadership with a special issue podcast featuring the Paris Climate Agreement leaders, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac talking with Seth Schultz and Peter Willis about the importance and value of deep listening in order to create change. The Report was launched at a special TEDx event in support of TED Countdown.
  • Engaging with stakeholders from throughout the ports value chain to hear their views, priorities and specific needs in preparation for a new multi-stage, multi-year project. Ports matter and their interconnectedness with multiple infrastructure systems requires a whole-system approach to enhance resilience in the face of many different drivers of change.
  • With cities around the world building their urban water resilience using the City Water Resilience Approach, we are delighted to further partner with the Resilient Cities Network and Arup, supporting the World Resources Institute to deliver the CWRA methodology into 3 city regions in Africa during 2021.
  • We launched a new and improved website for the Drought Response Learning Initiative, sharing lessons from the Cape Town water crisis in 2018. We are passionate about the value in such case studies, and plan to continue to develop and share learning material that helps to make resilience tangible and relevant.
  • We also continued our engineering-led collaboration with the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure. The first anniversary ICSI virtual symposium was a great success, sharing a year of progress, including the expansion of the coalition through the addition of the Institution of Civil Engineers to the Board, updates on all the action tracks under way, and affirmation by key third party stakeholders of the global need for engineering expertise to deliver action on climate and on net zero. A new ICSI website and brand identity were also launched.
  • Fantastic feedback was received on the ICE’s first virtual ICE Brunel International Lecture series with Seth Schultz highlighting the importance of engineers and the need for the engineering community to make a step change. The global tour continues in 2021.
  • We also took part in several events, sharing our work and contributing to the global agenda, including Resilient Cities Network’s Cities on the Frontline webinar series, the ICLEI Daring Cities Summit, the Race to Zero session on the Built Environment, and the World Bank’s Understanding Risk 2020.

After a turbulent and changeable year for all, we are proud to have continued to build our impact, delivering on key activities while putting key building blocks into place for the years to come.

We’ll be announcing more exciting news of our plans for the year soon so keep in touch by following us on twitter / linkedin to get our news straight away or by subscribing to our news round up.

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