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Bristol is kicking off its engagement with 100 Resilient Cities – pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, through a Resilience Agenda Workshop.

The event is part of the comprehensive resilience plan that will enable the city to better prepare for and withstand catastrophic events as well as chronic stresses.

The Bristol workshop will be held on Tuesday 4 March at the Old Council House, Broad Street.

Bristol is one of only five European cities to be invited to join the new global network of 100 Resilient Cities. To date 33 cities worldwide have been chosen to participate in the programme’s first phase. All these cities share a vision for increasing their resilience, and through the network will connect to share knowledge and best practices.

The network means the city will gain access to vital support and potential funding for developing a Resilience Plan for Bristol and the wider West of England. Resilience planning is about making Bristol a better place to live, work and play through robust emergency planning, resilient infrastructure, protecting vulnerable people and addressing long-term threats to energy security, food systems, public health and the city region’s economy.

“City governments are on the front line of dealing with acute shocks and chronic stress. Bristol is part of a group of cities leading the way on resilience to better prepare for, withstand, and recover more effectively when disruption hits,” said Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. “Through this type of inclusive resilience planning cities can be better prepared for the unexpected. They can also realise the resilience dividend, the economic and competitive advantages that come from taking a resilience mindset. Your commitment to resilience thinking, planning and action will set a global example.”

The workshop is designed to bring together a range of constituencies, including city officials, local businesses, civic groups and academia, to begin the work of developing the city’s resilience plan. The plan will encompass a variety of factors, among them partnerships and alliances, financing mechanisms, and particular attention to meeting needs of poor and vulnerable populations. The workshop will begin the process of identifying priorities, actions and metrics as part of a resilience strategy for Bristol.

Alex Minshull, Sustainable City and Climate Change Manager from Bristol City Council, will lead Bristol’s participation in the workshop, which will be opened by Mayor George Ferguson. Other key figures and organisations taking part in the event include Michael Berkowitz, Managing Director of 100 Resilient Cities, along with Bristol’s neighbouring local authorities, police, university and utility company representatives.

Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, said: “The flooding suffered by much of the Westcountry in recent weeks has brought in to sharp focus not only the impact of catastrophic events, but also the way in which authorities and communities respond. It underlines the importance of good resilience planning and I am pleased that our pioneering involvement in this global programme will improve our preparedness and put us in a position to lead and share best practice with other places.

“One of the biggest challenges facing cities today is that no single organisation has complete control over the solutions to increase our resilience to emergencies. Partnership will be vital in Bristol’s approach. By being part of the 100 Resilient Cities Network we want to learn from the best in the world on how to create technical, societal and financial ways to be more resilient to all the problems the world can throw at us. We want to speak directly to people who are making real changes and hear the stories of success and failure: Mayor to Mayor, business to business, citizen to citizen.”

For nearly a decade, The Rockefeller Foundation has been a leader in the growing field of resilience in both urban and rural areas around the world. The Foundation has produced significant knowledge, offered practical solutions, and promoted strong resilience policies in communities and regions in Asia, Africa and the United States. 100 Resilient Cities, pioneered by the Foundation, launched in 2013, is a $100 million commitment to urban resilience. City leaders or major institutions within cities applied to the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge. More than 500 cities applied, and the initial 33 cities were announced in December 2013. Additional cities will have the opportunity to be selected for the network in subsequent years. As part of their applications, cities described their plans to scale resilience programs across city and demonstrate how they will incorporate a range of constituents in both planning and implementation.

Michael Berkowitz, Managing Director for 100 Resilient Cities at The Rockefeller Foundation, commented that: “Bristol is helping fuel global momentum around building urban resilience, and leading by example. The agenda workshop will clarify the city’s needs, surface innovative thinking, and give us a blueprint for engaging partners from across sectors to bring Bristol the tools and resources needed to become more resilient.”

Pictured: Michael Berkowitz (right, Managing Director of 100 Resilient Cities for The Rockefeller Foundation) presents Bristol’s 100 Resilient Cities plaque to Mayor George Ferguson.

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