In August this year 50 million people, that is 1 in 150 of people on the planet, were seriously affected and displaced by flooding across the Caribbean, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa and right across Asia. Most of these people were already living in conditions of extreme poverty and are precisely the communities that national governments committed to help when they signed up to the Global Goals in 2015.

Today, we want to offer these and many other communities the possibility of a different reality: the opportunity of becoming resilient and able to withstand all the emerging global challenges and look forward to a better future. A future built on equality, justice, dignity, respect and shared prosperity for all. Today, the International Day for Eradication of Poverty, we are launching Resilience Brokers.

We have brought together world leading skills and networks to support a rapid transition to resilient development paths, to deliver the Global Goals and the Paris Agreement targets, including disaster risk reduction in all economies and regions to build a better future for people everywhere, leaving no one behind.

At the United Nations General Assembly in September, General Secretary Antonio Gutteres said

“We must help reshape unproductive and unrewarding finance and redirect funds to create a better future for all”

and President Macron said

“…local governments are the key stakeholders for implementing the Paris Agreement”.

With the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the Ecological Sequestration Trust convened experts from local governments, finance, insurance and research at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre in March 2015 and 2016. These meetings concluded with the consensus among these experts that there was an opportunity as well as an urgent need to mobilise more efficient and effective finance for resilient, sustainable development in city regions. However we found that this outcome could only be realised through a new integrated systems approach to risk-assessed planning and investment, able to target social, environmental and economic benefit — what Judith Rodin calls the “Resilience Dividend”. An approach able to deliver “productive and rewarding” finance with the total cost to reach Global Goals, in developed and developing city regions, being reduced by as much as 40%, bringing a more resilient future within reach using public-private partnerships.

We prototyped this approach in Accra Ghana. In 2016, with funding from The Department for International Development DFID, we supported local stakeholders to develop an integrated plan to invest in water supply and sanitation across the greater metropolitan area, to deliver Global Goal 6 by 2030. Despite great enthusiasm within Accra and Ghana, we still encountered a lot of cynicism and pessimism about the ability of cities to move forward quickly enough with this approach.

The Ecological Sequestration Trust then madethe big decision to step forward and mobilise the experts and networks that could help create the necessary global rapid transition to resilient development paths; and build a funding model to take forward a Programme that could reach the whole world by 2030.

People we were working with in the insurance industry said one day…

“You know what you are, you are Resilience Brokers!”

To take our global plan forward, we created new wholly owned companies, a funding vehicle, Resilience Brokers Capital Ltd and brought together a team to manage the delivery of a five year Programme, Resilience Brokers Ltd. We convened once more our team of leading experts at Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre in September 2017 and agreed a Declaration of Commitment to go forward as Resilience Brokers. Today, with huge excitement and anticipation, we’re pleased to announce this joint venture!

As President Barack Obama said at the UN in September, when speaking about the global challenges:

“Reject cynicism and pessimism and push forward with a certain relentless and infectious optimism”

This is precisely the Resilience Brokers philosophy, further supported by Jeffrey Sachs, when he joined us at Bellagio and said

“…think big and boldly and plan for success!”

Resilience Brokers will go forward, delivering a five year Programme across 200 demonstration regions which are currently being selected. Our work will be channeled through four interconnected key workstreams, which will bring together national and regional governments, private sector, academia, faiths and communities:

  • Science, data and technology research: We will design and implement an interdisciplinary research programme to complete the development of our integrated planning and decision making platform working with Imperial College and IIER and support city region research needs with ICSU, Future Earth and others. Linking up earth systems and local systems models and data working with ICES Foundation and GEO.
  • Training and capacity building: We will create local Collaboratories and facilitate new forms of cross-sector partnerships and provision of training and support at city region level for risk-informed planning and investment decision making and municipal finance, working with ICLEI and SDG Academy.
  • Development and introduction of breakthrough financing models: Including setting up Urban Development Investment Funds (UDIFs) to deploy a range of risk assessed innovative finance vehicles such as Blue and Green, Social Impact and Municipal Bonds, working with leading insurers and sustainable project and impact investors. We will also be connecting up technology and innovation strategies around private sector engagement working with Global Compact and Project Breakthrough.
  • Fostering long term legacy and impact: By establishing robust science-informed engagement and evaluation processes and knowledge-sharing networks working with UCCRN; And by engaging young people, working in partnership with the SDSN Youth Program.

The resilient development paths supported by the platform will include the transition to using renewable energy, potable and flood water management, eco-mobility, buildings-as-power stations, waste to energy and composting, recycling and re-use of materials, land regeneration, sustainable agriculture including agro-forestry, green infrastructure and aquaculture and aquaponics.

Collaboration is embedded in the fabric of Resilience Brokers so we are stronger than the sum of our parts. Our operations will be driven by open collaboration at all levels, from Executive board decision making processes all the way to how we work on the ground with partners and key stakeholders to deliver each city region project.

Our work is driven by transparency and professionalism as well as a solid commitment to consistent processes that are driven by equal opportunity. All of our operations will be guided by an independent group of world leading experts, the Resilience Brokers Independent Programme Board (IPB), to ensure that transparency, fairness and accountability are at the heart of all our strategic decisions and activities.

We aim to be positive disruptors as we broker rewarding and productive finance. Our digital software platform is the ground-breaking technology at the heart of our programme which will enable us to achieve a rapid global scale up through releasing it as open-source software in 2022. In addition to innovative tools like this, we will champion new ways of thinking, partnering and collaborating and provide access to innovative funding models. Innovation is the driver of the transformative change the Programme is set to effect in the pursuit of the Global Goals. Innovative is at the heart of our culture, embracing change at all levels and championing the introduction and implementation of internal processes that align with the “transformative nature” of Resilience Brokers.

We are facilitators in a neutral space, supporting all actors but very committed to helping all city regions to reach the Global Goals. We will remain independent and uninfluenced whilst observing a transparent, fair and inclusive codes of conduct and policies to ensure that all our work delivers equal opportunity to all communities in all corners of the word.

We are inviting more experts and networks to join the Resilience Brokers and are actively looking for city regions with big resilience challenges to become demonstrators. We would like to support at least one demonstration region in each country that signed up to the Global Goals within the next five years.

Resilience Brokers have assembled. Today we are starting the journey to help the world. Join us!