resilience starts with information
How well is London prepared for disaster?
We’ve become accustomed to seeing the acronyms CEO and CFO among job titles at most municipalities and other corporations. But there’s a new one on its way: CRO. It stands for chief resilience officer.
Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver have each appointed someone to that job. So have dozens of other major cities around the world.
What exactly does a CRO do?
According to 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, a CRO is a top-level adviser who reports directly to the city’s mayor. The job description is “to establish a compelling resilience vision for his or her city, working across departments and with the local community to maximize innovation and minimize the impact of unforeseen events.”
That’s bureaucratese for creating strategies to deal with everything from sudden shocks (think of hurricane-flooded Houston in August) to chronic stresses involving climate change, food security, energy supply and other persistent threats.
Think of a chief resilience officer as being a bit of a futurist, municipal mandarin and risk assessor, all rolled into one — someone with an ability to think strategically about what challenges a city could face under any number of scenarios, some of them bordering on the apocalyptic…
Ending poverty means investing in social, economic, and environmental resilience
Imagine relocating the entire population of your country in the face of a colossal hurricane and two months later still not being able to get back home. Now imagine spending several nights in a shelter and taking a stroll the next morning only to find what you used to call community, city or country reduced to an apocalyptic scene.
This is no fiction. Irma and Maria, two back-to-back category 5 hurricanes, the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic, swept across the Caribbean in September, cutting a swathe of destruction, taking lives, devastating infrastructure, and severely damaging the economies of small climate-vulnerable countries.
Entire islands were decimated, such as Barbuda, the smaller of the two-island state of Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica, both Members of the Caribbean Community, CARICOM. Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands were also devastated while The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were severely affected. Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis also suffered damage.
The island of St. Martin, divided between Sint Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands and St. Martin, a dependency of France as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic were impacted, in addition to Puerto Rico and Florida, in the United States.
The principal economic sectors of tourism and agriculture have been very significantly affected, the resulting loss of jobs compounding the anguish of the loss of homes. In-depth damage assessments in Barbuda and Dominica are still ongoing…