Cities Alliance Launches New Joint Work Programme on Resilient Cities

The new Joint Work Programme brings together over 14 international development partners to highlight and address the relationship between resilience and poverty in cities.


For the Cities Alliance, one of the biggest moments at COP21 was the launch of our new Joint Work Programme on Resilient Cities on 8 December (Cities Day). The event was hosted by ICLEI, a new member of the Cities Alliance and a driving force behind the Joint Work Programme.

Held at the Cities and Regions Pavilion, the launch attracted a range of key members and partners in support of the initiative, including the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), World Bank, ICLEI, C40, the Global Facility for Disaster Risk Recovery (GFDRR), Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), UCLG, and 100 Resilient Cities (100RC). Local government representatives included a mayor from Shimla, India and city officials from Pretoria, South Africa and Dakar, Senegal.

Cities Alliance Director William Cobbett and ICLEI Secretary-General Gino Van Begin presented the new Joint Work Programme. They described what they hope to see it accomplish: energy management in cities, solutions for informal settlements that are both on- and off-grid, conceptual clarity about resilience and what it means, and its operational value for cities, among others. 

As a next step, the Joint Work Programme will begin preparing technical assistance concepts concerning urban climate vulnerability assessments that incorporate slum profiling data – something that has never been done before. The concepts will also address capacity development to cities for climate finance readiness and inclusive energy management plans. 

About the Resilient Cities Joint Work Programme

The new Joint Work Programme brings together over 14 international development partners to highlight and address the relationship between resilience and poverty in cities. 

It will partner with the Medellín Collaboration on Urban Resilience (MCUR) under an action-oriented commitment to support 500 cities to the strengthen the resilience of their informal communities by 2020.

The Cities Alliance Joint Work Programme, which is coordinated by UN-Habitat, brings together a broad range of organisations active in different areas of urban development and aligns their efforts in support of a common objective: to promote resilient and inclusive cities. 

They are: Arup, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, the French Alliance for Cities and Territorial Development (PFVT), ICLEI, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), 100RC, OECD, SDI, SECO, The Ecological Sequestration Trust (TEST), UNEP, UN-Habitat, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), WIEGO, GFDRR, and the World Bank.

This global cooperation between the MCUR and Cities Alliance will catalyse the two main focus areas of the Joint Work Programme on Resilient Cities:

 - Facilitating the flow of global knowledge and resources on a global level to help cities become more resilient by fostering harmonisation of resilience approaches and diagnostic tools, catalysing access to innovative finance mechanisms, and supporting institutional capacity development of cities by facilitating direct sharing of good practice.

 - Leveraging global products for cities, particularly in informal settlements, to support citywide integrated resilience planning, developing strategies and plans aimed at sustainable management of urban energy, and demonstrating collective, local solutions for resilience-building in vulnerable communities.  As cities implement these tools, policies and approaches, their experiences will feed into the global advocacy portion of the Joint Work Programme, which involves engaging in influential international processes on sustainable development, climate change, disaster risk reduction, and the new urban agenda.


“Most organisations working on resilience come from one side of the discourse or another, such as environment or, in the case of the Cities Alliance, slum upgrading and urban poverty reduction,” said Cities Alliance Director William Cobbett in a press release announcing the new partnership. 

“This Joint Work Programme is unique because it brings all these perspectives together for a more comprehensive understanding of resilience that will help all partners provide stronger, more coordinated results.”