Building a Resilient Future Together

By Lynette Lim, Global Director, Communications


It is an undeniable fact of the new reality that cities around the world, in addition to their own internal challenges, are increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters. To address this, we are supporting cities to develop resilience strategies while channelling targeted investments to help them address vulnerabilities and build capacity. 

Working with nearly 100 cities in more than 40 countries, the Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities) is the world’s leading urban resilience network. R-Cities focuses on three priority areas: Climate Resilience, Circularity and Equitable Cities, and we ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a holistic approach to urban resilience. Cities play an important role in delivering on each of these areas. Glasgow has been working with the Network for 10 years. Many things connect our work including our Urban Eats campaign, elaborated below, as well as our COP26 delegation with the Glasgow City Council.   

One of our main areas of action is devoted to building resilient food systems. Global food production, supply chains and prices have recently been affected by multiple shocks and stresses, including the climate emergency, the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, cities also generate nearly three billion tons of organic waste every year and food systems account for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  

In response to this huge global challenge in 2022 R-Cities launched Urban Eats, a campaign focused on food circularity. Together with our partner organization, Arup, we are calling on cities to reduce, redistribute and repurpose food waste to tackle waste, emissions and food security. Cities do not generally have enough support to articulate and develop their most innovative ideas, or to turn these ideas into fully realized projects. We are pleased to see initiatives such as Grounds for Recycling and its predecessor, Plate up for Glasgow, which are both strong examples of place-based, scalable activities specifically designed to make a difference.  

For us at R-Cities, there is no question that we need to create more opportunities for knowledge sharing. We also need to access expertise to scale up successful solutions and build the sustainable institutional capacity needed to be resilient in the face of continued change.  

A key feature of our programs is the emphasis on peer-to-peer learning, which we foster through our network activities, city engagement and Communities of Practice. These communities draw on the expertise of member cities and stakeholders and introduce a wide range of specialised tools to accelerate our global resilience across our network of cities and beyond. 

Next, our Resilient Community Impact Funds (RCIFunds) provides cities with funding to kick-start resilience innovation. Cities are uniquely positioned to implement adaptation strategies, yet only 10% of climate investment reaches the local level. In addition, emerging economies are facing urgent climate change impacts despite being the least responsible for carbon emissions. To ensure equity in adapting to a changing climate, we strongly support targeting adaptation finance to them.   

We call on partners in government, the private sector and philanthropy to focus on climate resilience by making long-term, multi-year investments in the most vulnerable cities. Empowering cities while mobilising funds to build resilience is the best way to face an uncertain future together.