Wellington joins 100 Resilient Cities Network

3 December 2014

Wellington has won a bid to be part of the international network 100 Resilient Cities. Last year, The Rockefeller Foundation launched the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge (RC100) to help cities around the world become more resilient to physical, social and economic challenges.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says this successful bid means increased access to expertise and resources here and overseas. 

“In the capital, we are clear and open about vulnerability to physical and economic risks and active in addressing them together with both private and public sectors.

“International recognition of our work is opening doors for the Council and our partners to learn from and contribute to international best practice so Wellington can be more resilient -for people’s survival, our sense of built heritage and for economic success. This is also an opportunity to profile the New Zealand firms and universities the Council is working with on the science and engineering of urban resilience. Our skills in resilience are a great way of attracting students, academics and increasing export markets for local expertise and inventions.”

Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities, says “we selected Wellington because of its leaders’ commitment to resilience building and the innovative and proactive way they’ve been thinking about the challenges the city faces. We’re excited to get to work.”

Selected cities receive access to $US 1 million worth of expertise and resources including:

  • funding to hire a Chief Resilience Officer
  • assistance in developing a resilience strategy
  • access to a platform of innovative private and public sector tools to help design and implement that strategy
  • membership in the 100 Resilient Cities Network.

A thousand cities across six continents applied to be among the first 100 cities selected to receive technical support and resources over three years.

Being part of the Resilient City Network will bolster the current work being undertaken by the Wellington region’s International Centre of Excellence for Community Resilience – a partnership between the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office (WREMO) and the Joint Centre for Disaster Research (JCDR).

“This is a tremendous opportunity to further develop and share our benchmark practices in the resilience space,” says WREMO Regional Manager, Bruce Pepperell. “We are looking forward to working with Wellington City, as well as local and international partners to continue improving connectedness and preparedness in our communities.”

This programme aligns with several natural hazards research projects in the region that are improving our understanding of the risk from natural hazard events and ways to build resilience. The Joint Centre for Disaster Research – a collaboration between Massey University and GNS Science – is leading an international programme of research on building community-driven resilience. The Centre’s Director, Professor David Johnston,  welcomes this new initiative.

Examples of WCC’s initiatives and regional resilience partnerships include:

  • the establishment of a building resilience team to work with the property sector on earthquake strengthening
  • the award-winning Tsunami Blue Lines project
  • Neighbours Day Aotearoa implementation
  • world-leading asset management information systems
  • the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO), a partnership between Wellington’s nine councils
  • the International Centre of Excellence for Community Resilience, the UN supported IRDR (Integrated Research for Disaster Risk) initiative, based here in the Wellington Region.
  • being the first New Zealand council to complete earthquake-prone assessment of all commercial pre-1976 buildings.
  • It’s Our Fault research programme, led by GNS Science.

 

There is a growing emphasis both nationally and internationally on the need for cities to work together more closely. Melbourne and Christchurch were the first two cities in Oceania region accepted, and are now joined by Wellington and Sydney.

“Acceptance of the Council’s bid is recognition of the great work we are already doing in Wellington City and in the wider Wellington region to build resilience. Households, businesses and councils can’t be resilient separately and we can’t tackle huge challenges like climate change adaptation alone,” says Councillor Malcom Sparrow, Community Resilience Portfolio Leader.