ICLEI and partners launch Global Initiative on Urban Resilience

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 21 June 2012 — ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability and partners unveiled a new initiative that will catalyze urban resilience action worldwide at the Rio+20 Global Town Hall today. The Global Initiative on Urban Resilience (GIUR) bolsters disaster resilience - one of the hallmark themes of the historic UN Conference on Sustainable Development, better known as Rio +20.

Urban resilience is an indispensable precondition to the attainment of sustainable development and will drive agendas, investment opportunities, and building and infrastructure development. Building urban resilience involves reducing exposure to risk and vulnerability while increasing resistance and robustness and ensuring emergency preparedness.

Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, Secretary General of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, representing an association of over 1220 local government Members, observed that, “Urban resilience must apply not” only to climate change, but to all other shocks and stresses that affect community systems.

The Report of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability: Resilient People -Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing, outlines a compelling vision, including 56 specific recommendations as well as a call to action. “The Secretary General’s High-Level Panel makes clear that the protean concept of resilience cuts across all issues and sectors, and provides a new and vital dimension to the cause of sustainable development,”

“Harmonized measurements and effective management are interconnected, driving innovation in urban environments, partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative.

Acting as a leadership group on this important dimension of the challenge, ICLEI, the US Green Building Council, the Eye on Earth Summit, the World Bank Group, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies Program on Energy, Resources, and the Environment, and the Earth Council Alliance Rio de Janeiro Office are raising the flag and galvanizing an urban resiliency movement that can catalyze community action around the world.

“Building resilient communities worldwide requires innovation and new partnerships, bringing big money to portfolios of green economy projects,"

Resources, and Environment Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and HRH Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Professor in Energy and Environmental Policy.

Recognizing that the cause of resilience cannot be achieved by national governments alone, the GIUR will do its part to attain the High Level Panel's goals and recommendations by focusing on urban geographies, identifying the synergies between city governments, non- governmental organizations, financial institutions, and different business sectors.

“Disaster management as well as community sustainability and resiliency are both critical issues that demand our focus. On behalf of Eye on Earth Partners, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, we see the pivotal importance and urgent necessity of launching the Global Initiative on Urban Resilience,”  of the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative.

The GIUR will focus on eight key areas, but will refine its reach as innovative ideas emerge:

1. Convene a core group of organizations that will coordinate the stakeholders to provide global reach

and dimension to the initiative

2. Encourage a resiliency dimension to the green building movement

3. Take a whole-of-urban government approach

4. Develop new incentives for budget action on resilience by local governments around the world

5. Build awareness of resilience as an indispensable precondition to sustainable development

6. Develop harmonized metrics for success to better achieve milestones and outcomes

7. Integrate geographic information systems and geospatial infrastructure into planning and budget


8. Integrate systems for natural capital accounting, avoiding losses and reducing costs associated withshocks and disasters “We have to change the way we think about infrastructure, agriculture, transportation, water, energy, how communities become resilient, what kind of information we share. We have to help people make infrastructure decisions that will prove resilient far into the future,said Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainable Development of the World Bank. Explained Catherine Armour, Programme Managernoted Dr. David Jhirad, Director of the Energy,” added Jay Carson, Executive Director of C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, indeclared Dr. Jason Hartke, Vice President for the US Green Building Council.

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