Wellington City Council and 100 Resilient Cities launch ‘Resilient Wellington’

24 September 2015

Wellington City Council, in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities — pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC), is kicking off the process to develop a resilience strategy for Wellington. In a changing and increasingly urbanised world, the process is designed to help cities survive and thrive their 21st century challenges and opportunities.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown receives a plaque from Nicola Thomson, Associate Director of Relationships for the 100 Resilient Cities programme in New York.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown receives a plaque from Nicola Thomson, Associate Director of Relationships for the 100 Resilient Cities programme

Wellington was named part of the 100RC network in 2014, along with cities like London, New York, Bangkok, and Rio de Janeiro, and was selected from more than 700 applicants from around the world.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says knowing your neighbours, robust infrastructure and healthy natural systems are all part of the multi-faceted nature of resilience.

“The ‘Resilient Wellington’ workshop follows extensive investment by Wellington City Council in making our city more resilient through seismic strengthening, raising community awareness, and reducing climate change emissions.

“We will take findings from the workshop and develop a comprehensive Resilience Strategy that will focus our financial resources as effectively as possible and encourage organisations and citizens to build Wellington's natural, social and economic resilience.

“Our new Chief Resilience Officer, funded by the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) programme, will be on board with us in the next couple of months and will support development of the city’s Resilience Strategy,” she says. “There are world class institutes like NIWA, GNS and MetServices here that can work with Massey's international Disaster Hub and our WREMO office to make us a global exemplar.”

“City governments are on the front line of dealing with acute shocks and chronic stress. Wellington is part of a group of cities leading the way on resilience to better prepare for, withstand, and recover more effectively when disruption hits,” said Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. “Through this type of inclusive resilience planning cities can be better prepared for the unexpected. They can also realise the resilience dividend, the economic and competitive advantages that come from taking a resilience mindset. Your commitment to resilience thinking, planning and action will set a global example.”

The “Resilience Agenda-Setting Workshop” is Wellington’s first engagement in their partnership with 100RC. The workshop brings together a diverse set of stakeholders from across city government and the private sector, non-profits, NGO’s, academia, and community groups into the planning process. It seeks to uncover all the threats the city is facing, including those previously unknown, while unveiling resilience building tools and plans to address those threats.

Following the workshop, Wellington will name a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) — an innovative new position in city government. The CRO will lead the city’s resilience efforts and continue to engage those stakeholders, resilience experts, and 100RC staff in drafting a comprehensive Resilience Strategy. 

“Wellington is helping fuel global momentum around building urban resilience, and leading by example,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “The agenda workshop will clarify the city’s needs, surface innovative thinking, and give us a blueprint for engaging partners from across sectors to bring Wellington the tools and resources needed to become more resilient.” 

Wellington was selected as one of sixty-seven members of what will ultimately be a 100-city global network, and will receive technical support and resources to develop and implement a Resilience Strategy.

Each city in the 100RC network receives four concrete types of support.

  • Financial and logistical guidance for establishing an innovative new position in city government, a Chief Resilience Officer who will lead the city’s resilience efforts
  • Technical support for development of a robust Resilience Strategy
  • Access to solutions, service providers, and partners from the private, public and NGO sectors who can help them develop and implement their resilience strategies
  • Membership in a global network of member cities who can learn from and help each other

Wellington’s Resilience Strategy will be a holistic, action-oriented plan to build partnerships and alliances, financing mechanisms, and will pay particular attention to meeting the needs of vulnerable people. The workshop begins the process of identifying priorities, actions, and metrics, and the plan will be drafted over the next 6-12 months.

Christchurch CRO, Mike Gilliooly, who worked across multiple organisations to assess the impact of land damage and flooding following the 2011 earthquakes, and Melbourne CRO Toby Kent, who has an extensive background in corporate sponsorship and sustainability, will be sharing their 100 Resilient Cities experiences. Recently appointed Sydney CRO Rebecca Dawson will also be in attendance.

Nicola Thomson, an Associate Director of 100 Resilient Cities will introduce attendees to the project, its impetus and focus. Prior to her 100 Resilient Cities appointment Nicola spent 12 years as an environmental advisor and project manager in developing countries. Most recently, she ran her own environmental consulting firm based in Suva, Fiji.

She has led environmental and social impact assessments for infrastructural, mining, industrial and tourism developments. She is also a respected independent evaluator of conservation and development grants.

Workshop Details

Location: Te Papa Tongarewa, Cable Street, Wellington
Date: 28 September
Time: 9.00am to 4.30pm

About 100 Resilient Cities

100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a Resilience Strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. 100RC currently has 67 member cities.

100RC recently launched the third and final round of the 100 Resilient Cities challenge, where cities can apply to become part of the final cohort of cities in the global network of 100 cities.

The strategy comes with over US$1 million in commitments for implementation from 100RC Platform Partners in both the public and private sectors, as well as additional commitments from other local and national philanthropic organizations. As the City moves towards implementation, they will also have continuing access to a $100 million pool of tools and services from the 100RC network and platform partners.