This content was originally published on The Resilience Shift website. The Resilience Shift, a 5-year programme supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and hosted by Arup, transitioned at the end of 2021 to become Resilience Rising. You can read more about The Resilience Shift’s journey and the transition to Resilience Rising here.

With our partners, we are putting water resilience at the heart of global policy. Find out more about our partnerships and influence activities below.

The work proposes to build understanding and adoption of resilience concepts, measures, design approaches and investment guidance, codifying resilience initially in global policies guiding development and investment such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and multilateral development bank (MDB) standards.

Successful partnerships have driven the promotion of water resilience governance and the launch of the City Water Resilience Approach (CWRA), explained by Louise Ellis in this blog. Our work on influencing the water sector has continued along side. We announced at 2019’s World Water Week in Stockholm the launch of of a global urban water resilience community of practice, alongside further work to implement the CWRA. This was the culmination of work previewed at 2018’s WWWeek. Other previous groundwork in this area has included the successful advancement of water resilience science, presenting draft manuscripts in the inaugural Water Security 2018 conference in Toronto, Canada, and showcasing advances in water resilience design at World Water Week 2018.

The call is now out to get involved in this community of practice in partnership with Resilience Shift, Global Commission on Adaptation, Arup, Stockholm International Water Institute, International Water Association, 100 Resilient Cities Network, Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, One Water Academy and Deltares.

We have been talking about the importance of resilient infrastructure systems and urban water resilience at many events during 2019 culminating in the 2019 Conference of Parties 25 (COP25) in December where the Resilience Shift and its partners featured in numerous sessions and workshops.

Resilience Shift Ambassador Fred Boltz has been instrumental in putting water resilience at the heart of global policy in partnership with SIWI and other collaborators. Previous policy gains through the United Nations have included participation and submission of a multi-stakeholder position advocating for resilience as a paradigm for water development. Fred is now leading the Water Action Track for the Global Commission for Adaptation’s ambitious Year of Action (see press release).

Partnering with the Stockholm International Water Institute has delivered significant progress on water resilience and for the wider 2030 agenda. Maggie White’s role leading international policy at SIWI reinforces the importance of water for global agendas on resilience, adaptation and mitigation.

A Special Issue of Water Security Journal has been published at the end of 2019 on Building Resilience through Water.

This suite of peer-reviewed papers sets out a conceptual framework supported by a portfolio of applied research into water and the resilience of human and natural systems, including cities, infrastructure, energy and river basins.

The series has been steered by Dr Fred Boltz and the framing paper for this series, Water is a Master Variable: Solving for Resilience in the Modern Era, is now available online.

This paper explores our central thesis for the special issue, that a sound approach to understanding and solving for the resilience of human systems under future Earth system and societal change can be found by basing our designs on water. This paper emerged through a series of inspiring conversations with thought leaders in resilience, freshwater ecology, systems science and engineering.

Project Leader, Eleanor Earle

Eleanor is a civil and environmental engineer with experience in infrastructure design, and specialist expertise in the relationship of water management with digital transformation, sustainable development and resilience.

How are we doing this?

Along with our partner, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, by the end of this phase of work, we aim to have raised the profile of the Resilience Shift in the water sector, and shifted the conversation from policy towards practice. We want to also understand the potential to apply this learning to other sectors.

Existing work in this area through project proponents and key partners has created the enabling environment for success that has been followed through on with the support of the Resilience Shift into:

  • Global and national policy mechanisms and processes.
  • Receptive policy agencies (UN, member states) and representative constituencies (public, private, civil society).
  • Engaged public investment leaders (World Bank, European Investment Bank) and MDB peers.
  • SIWI water multi-stakeholder group.
  • Thought leaders in water and resilience science and practice (Stockholm Resilience Center, World Bank, U. Massachusetts-Amherst, Columbia University, Oxford University, 100 Resilient Cities, Arup, Deltares, UNESCO-IHP, AGWA).
  • Premier platforms for consultation and consensus building in water science, policy and practice that are receptive to help understanding resilience (UN High Level Panel on Water, UN High Level Political Forum, Water Security journal, Stockholm World Water Week, UN General Assembly).

What are the outputs?

  • Water Security Journal special issue on resilience has been published in 2019.
  • Attendance and presentations, panel sessions at a series of events where policy guidance and decisions will be made.
  • These include: UN High-Level Panel on Water (May 2018) | Inaugural Water Security congress (Jun 2018) | UN High-Level Political Forum (Jul 2018) | Stockholm World Water Week (Aug 2018) | UN General Assembly (Sep 2018) | Bellagio Centre Conference Convening (Nov’ 2018), Resilience Engineering Symposium 2019, ICLEI Resilient Cities 2019, Urban Resilience Summit 2019, Stockholm World Water Week (Aug 2019), Conference of Parties (COP25) Dec 2019, and numerous other events and activities throughout the year.

Joint-signatory to open letter

In April 2018, the Resilience Shift was a joint signatory to an open letter, entitled, ‘Building-a-resilient-future-through-water‘, to the High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development from Multi-Stakeholder Representatives of the Water and Development Community.  Find out more.

Success in advancing ambition on adaptation and resilience at COP26

The Resilience Shift, with the Global Resilience Partnership, and the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center at the Atlantic Council, were the three managing partners for the first ever Resilience Hub at COP focusing on adaptation and resilience.

With 154 events from 80 partners and featuring 176 participating organisations, the Resilience Hub brought together a community of state and non-state actors in an unprecedented collaboration.

In a High-level Plenary session at the end of week 2, Nigel Topping, High level Champion for Climate Action at COP26, said, “We’re delighted that the Resilience Hub has been a real success here and we hope that it goes from strength to strength to draw more attention and direct more resources to resilience solutions”.

Find out more.


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