NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, during the opening plenary of the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, President Bill Clinton announced a global Commitment to Action to the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge. The Commitment to Action, led by The Rockefeller Foundation and shared by Swiss Re, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Architecture for Humanity, and Palantir, will support at least 100 cities to hire a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), create a resilience strategy, and provide access to tools, technical support, and resources for implementation including access to innovative finance for infrastructure development. 100 Resilient Cities will also create a network for CROs to share information and best practice.
The Commitment to Action will be realized through a new organization, 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100 Resilient Cities), which will coordinate both the network of cities as well as an innovative platform of services offered to network members. The first commitments these services have been made by Swiss Re, the AIA, Architecture for Humanity, and Palantir.
"Building resilience cannot be done by a single actor or sector, no matter how innovative or passionate they may be," explained Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Judith Rodin. "Rather, building resilience requires a shared vision and investment among a range of partners including cities themselves. The Rockefeller Foundation has been on the front lines of urban resilience for nearly a decade, and we are thrilled to have this initial set of partners joining us to transform this vision into progress in our rapidly urbanizing world."
A focus on building resilience strengthens cities' ability to prepare for and bounce back more quickly from the inevitable shocks and stresses they will undoubtedly face, whether due to extreme weather resulting from climate change, seismic events or terrorism. Accounting for today's realities of more people living in cities – by 2050 that will include an estimated 75% of the world's population – The Rockefeller Foundation sees building urban resilience as an imperative of the 21st Century, because when disaster strikes cities are affected on a larger scale due to population density, often with tragic results particularly among the poor and vulnerable. But through planning, foresight, and better investment, cities can mitigate these impacts.
"It is our deep conviction that we should be preparing for disasters before they happen, rather than responding after the fact. This not only saves lives, reduces human suffering and protects property: it also helps to speed up recovery and lessen the impact on public and private budgets, which is the essence of resilience. Frankly this is an exciting moment to be supporting the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge. Our contribution to the commitment will consist of practical risk management insight and tools, including CatNet, a state-of-the-art risk assessment tool, which will be offered to the cities free of charge. We also look forward to bringing our expertise to bear in helping to define the role of the Chief Resilience Officer, and supporting the development of the CRO network," said Martyn Parker, Chairman Global Partnerships, Swiss Re.
100 Resilient Cities will select the first round of cities to join the network following the Challenge process, upon the recommendations of a panel of esteemed judges. Cities around the world were invited to participate; to date, more than 500 cities registered. Selected cities will be announced on December 3, 2013 at The Rockefeller Foundation's annual Innovation Forum.
"We are honored to bring Palantir's technologies to this partnership," said Alex Karp, co-founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies. "With the leadership of Judith Rodin, we will save and improve many lives around the world."
"The American Institute of Architects and Architecture for Humanity are committed to creating a series of Regional Resilient Design Studios," said AIA Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA. "By building upon our experience helping recover in the wake of major disasters, these studios will train and engage architects in their communities before disasters strike. We are excited to share this resource with the network of cities created through 100 Resilient Cities," Ivy added.
Eric Cesal, Director of Architecture for Humanity's Reconstruction and Resiliency Studio said, "Through the Studios, we will provide capacity-building workshops to guide cities in their agenda setting, which offer powerful planning tools to cities along with access to resilience planning experts. This is a win for everyone, particularly the cities, and is work that Architecture for Humanity has been doing for over 10 years. We look forward to sharing our lessons learned and to working with The Rockefeller Foundation and AIA to further our understanding of resilience and together offer assistance to communities to plan their strategies."
Supported through a $100 million pledge to build urban resilience from The Rockefeller Foundation, the 100 Resilient Cities network will, over time, grow to include at least 100 cities from around the world. As more cities join or express interest through future rounds of applications, and as more entities follow the lead of Swiss Re, the AIA, Architecture for Humanity, and Palantir, the potential to change the future of city planning globally will become increasingly powerful and real.
"Building resilience is a journey, not a destination. 100 Resilient Cities is on a mission to ensure that cities everywhere are prepared to endure the shocks and stresses they will surely face. We are thrilled to have partners in this endeavor who are equally passionate and that stand ready to offer tangible, results-driven services to cities," said Michael Berkowitz, Rockefeller Foundation Managing Director for 100 Resilient Cities, adding that "we look forward to welcoming others to join us."
About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation aims to achieve equitable growth by expanding opportunity for more people in more places worldwide, and to build resilience by helping them prepare for, withstand, and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses. Throughout its 100 year history, The Rockefeller Foundation has enhanced the impact of innovative thinkers and actors working to change the world by providing the resources, networks, convening power, and technologies to move them from idea to impact. In today's dynamic and interconnected world, The Rockefeller Foundation has a unique ability to address the emerging challenges facing humankind through innovation, intervention and influence in order to shape agendas and inform decision making. For more information, please visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org.
About Swiss Re
The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance-based forms of risk transfer. Dealing direct and working through brokers, its global client base consists of insurance companies, mid-to-large-sized corporations and public sector clients. From standard products to tailor-made coverage across all lines of business, Swiss Re deploys its capital strength, expertise and innovation power to enable the risk-taking upon which enterprise and progress in society depend. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of over 60 offices globally and is rated "AA-" by Standard & Poor's, "A1" by Moody's and "A+" by A.M. Best. Registered shares in the Swiss Re Group holding company, Swiss Re Ltd, are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and trade under the symbol SREN. For more information about Swiss Re Group, please visit: www.swissre.com or follow us on Twitter @SwissRe.
Palantir offers the world's leading data integration and analytics platform. The Palantir Platform works at any scale and empowers the entire analysis stack through its ability to access any data store in the enterprise, while enforcing robust security and civil liberties protections. Palantir is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and London. Additional information is available at www.palantir.com
About the American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.
About Architecture for Humanity
Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit design services firm founded in 1999. By building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design, Architecture for Humanity taps a network of more than 75,000 professionals willing to lend time and expertise to help those who would not otherwise be able to afford their services. They bring design, construction and development services where they are most critically needed. For more information, please visit architectureforhumanity.org
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 400 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $73.5 billion.
CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI Latin America, which will bring together Latin American leaders to identify, harness, and strengthen ways to improve the livelihoods of people in Latin America and around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.
SOURCE Rockefeller Foundation