Kigali inducted into world's most 'resilient cities'

Kigali is among 35 cities around the world inducted on Wednesday into a $100 million programme designed to strengthen their resilience to natural disasters and enhance their ability to tackle issues such as violence, social exclusion and transport congestion.

Kigali is among 35 cities around the world inducted on Wednesday into a $100 million programme designed to strengthen their resilience to natural disasters and enhance their ability to tackle issues such as violence, social exclusion and transport congestion.

The cities are being recognised for their ideas on physical, social and economic resilience.

The 100 Resilient Cities programme, a project funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, a philanthropic organisation and private foundation based in New York, allocates financial and logistical support to each chosen city, together with a dedicated “chief resilience officer”.

The cities join the initial group of 32 announced in New York last December in receiving, among others, support to hire and empower a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), a central point of contact within each city to coordinate and oversee resilience activities, coordinate stakeholders, and ensure resilience is a city-wide priority.

Bruno Rangira, the City of Kigali director of communication, said this is going to give Kigali, a city of over 1.13 million people, a chance to tap into the global network on finding solutions for urban problems.

Rangira said: “Kigali being part of the 100 resilient cities programme will help in finding sustainable solutions to challenges such as affordable housing, infrastructure development, climate change and others that include energy shortages and roads, and the risk of epidemic disease.”

“The programme will allocate financial and logistical support to each chosen city, including a dedicated chief resilience officer who will help plan and coordinate different projects to enhance the resilience of the City of Kigali.”

Funds will depend on studies and what is required in each city.

Each city will also get access to a platform of services from private and non-profit sector partners to support the implementation of that strategy and get connected to other network members to share what works, celebrate successes, and advance the larger discussion on urban resilience.

The chief resilience officer will address challenges that could range from increasing threats of flooding to growing strains on health systems and the cities also will get technical help, in planning and implementing their strategies.

“Cities are learning that by building resilience, not only will they be better prepared for the bad times, but also life is better in the good times, especially for the poor and vulnerable,” Judith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation president, said in a statement.

The work of a CRO

The CRO is at the epicentre of 100 Resilient Cities’ vision for helping cities deal with challenges while empowering them to develop improved urban resilience.

To be effective in this instrumental role, a CRO, among others, works across government departments to help a city improve internal communications, and to address its own complexities.

The CRO promotes new collaboration; makes sure that offices aren’t wasting resources doing duplicative work; and promotes synergy between the various projects and the plans that agencies are drafting.

The CRO leads the resilience strategy, a six- to nine-month process during which CRO brings in a variety of stakeholders, to help identify the city’s resilience challenges, its capabilities and plans to address them, and then to identify the gaps between these two.

At the end of this process, the CRO will have a series of resilience-building initiatives that he or she will then work to put in action, with assistance from 100RC and our platform partners.

A total of 331 cities in 94 countries applied to be part of this year’s allocation, with nearly 70 per cent of all entries coming from the developing world.

The addition of 35 new cities means the network will now impact more than 700 million people across the globe.

Next year, the Foundation will announce the final cohort of cities to join the network, rounding out the 100.

The second tranche of cities was named at a conference in Singapore, which discussed the major threats (natural disasters, social unrest, economic inequality, access to healthcare, management of water and freedom of movement) likely to strain cities in the future.

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New ‘resilient cities’

North America

Montreal (Canada); Chicago, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Santa Fe, St Louis, Tulsa (all US); San Juan (Puerto Rico); Juarez (Mexico); Santiago de los Caballeros (Dominican Republic).

South America

Cali (Colombia); Santiago (Chile).

Europe

Athens, Thessaloniki (both Greece); Barcelona (Spain); Belgrade (Serbia); Lisbon (Portugal); London (UK); Milan (Italy); Paris (France).

Asia

Toyama (Japan); Chennai, Bangalore (both India); Deyang, Huangshi (both China); Singapore; Phnom Penh (Cambodia); Amman (Jordan).

Oceania

Sydney (Australia); Wellington (New Zealand).

Africa

Accra (Ghana); Arusha (Tanzania); Enugu (Nigeria); Kigali (Rwanda)

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