Triggering a “great mobilisation” to deliver the Global Goals

by Mar 21, 2018News

At the recent World Urban Forum 9, I attended a great session on urban science networks chaired by Genie Birch. During the session, a very important point was raised by Axel Baeumler–Senior Infrastructure Economist working at the World Bank. Axel brought up the issue of the “missing middle” as a key challenge to connecting all actors with the tools, support and finance they need to deliver inclusive, resilient development in city regions, globally–at the speed and scale required to achieve the Global Goals.

I first came across this issue in 2011 whilst working at Arup. I realised then, that the “lack of a neutral facilitator connecting all actors and resources” was a key barrier to implementing and scaling up some of Arup’s innovative initiatives. This is when I learned that cities needed to find a way to bring together cross-sector teams to work collaboratively, to develop efficient solutions that address region-specific challenges. And I thought it was time to turn words into action!

Shortly thereafter, I stepped out of my job at Arup and set up a charity–the Ecological Sequestration Trust–to “listen” to cities, academia and communities, as well as the financial and insurance sectors, with the aim to tackle this issue. We have since done a great deal of listening, learning and collective thinking, and have put all our energy and resources into building an extraordinary team and global network of leading experts from across all sectors and disciplines. The Resilience Brokers address the issue of the “missing middle”. We have developed a Programme designed to “connect” every city region in the world to a global network of knowledge, support and resources and to facilitate the sharing of learnings as part of a free, open source process. After all, the future is open source!

The Resilience Brokers Programme champion a pioneering holistic approach to systems change–with unprecedented potential for global scalability–driven by the power of collaboration and disruptive technology innovation. This great global mobilisation starts now, with the gradual deployment of our Programme to 200 city regions over the next five years–which aims to include all UN member states that signed up to the Global Goals.

Our Programme is fueled by science and evidence-based thinking. We are introducing prototyped pioneering systems modelling technology, which will be fully developed and tested across global and local scales in all 200 target regions. We then plan to release the technology open source with the aim to trigger a rapid scale up to 70% of all city regions in the world by 2030.

A Programme underpinned by four key innovations

The first is a systems approach–with a focus on improving human and ecological systems health–which allows city regions to understand actual city urban-rural resource flows and community needs and work collaboratively to develop scenarios for a transition to Global Goal delivery using

This approach requires both open data and the ability to “turn the data into wisdom”–which is what the New Urban Agenda calls “an integrated planning approach”. The prospect of attracting finance capital and reducing investment costs will be the main incentive for the different organisations to come together to pool their data. In addition to the systems platform, the Resilience Brokers Programme will provide access to a global knowledge and open data sharing infrastructure to facilitate the dissemination of learnings across city regions and the rapid evolution and adoption of innovative solutions, globally.

The second key innovation is the link of city data and systems to national and earth scale systems, enabling scenarios and investments to be risk assessed and fully backed by science and research. This is now possible because of the data revolution, major advances in data available from satellites, sensors and mobile devices, combined with computational power and advances in modelling and simulation at global and local scales.

The third critical innovation is the approach to empowering young people and communities to lead transformational change.  We plan to engage and mobilise young people, globally, partly through a gaming version of their city region’s modeling platform. The game will encourage young people to take an active part in the collaborative planning and development process, allowing them to generate potential scenarios and build collaborative and collective intelligence in the process. The Resilience Brokers Programme will also be directly linked to the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and UN Habitat’s global youth engagement initiatives.

The fourth innovation is the critical role of the Faiths in delivering solutions to protect and improve our “sacred” planet. After 20 years of effort by Martin Palmer at ARC–supported in the last phase by Resilience Brokers–, representatives of eight of the world’s major faiths convened in Zug (Switzerland) last October, to develop and commit to “The Zug Guidelines to Faith Consistent Investing”–a comprehensive guide to faith-consistent investing which has been since backed up by 30 major faith groups. We are currently working with faith groups and faith-consistent investors to establish the Faith Consistent Investment Alliance to lead and oversee the practical implementation of the Zug Guidelines.

We have set up a sister company–Resilience Brokers Capital–to fund and deliver the Resilience Brokers Programme. Equity investors are invited to invest in up to 40% of the shares of this company, and become the driving force behind this global mobilisation of impact investment and technology innovation in cities all over the world. Up to $25m of shares are now available to purchase in 2018.

Revenue will be generated through up to 1000 innovative technology Apps, expected to join the Programme’s digital platform over the next five years. Cities will gain free access to the apps library and will be able to select and “trial” each of these apps through the different model scenario tests to assess potential impact and value.

The technology App purchase model–at $50 per city per year–will provide a low cost one-to-many channel to the world’s city region markets, with the potential to reach up to 10,000 city regions by 2030.

Apps might include, for example, a package of technologies and building design that can turn all building types into power stations connected to a smart grid. Another example might be a blockchain-based local transaction system to enable workers in care and education services to rent or buy affordable housing on public land, out of a portion of their public sector pay.

The Resilience Brokers Programme’s extraordinary potential for global impact continues to attract support from world-leading organisations across all sectors of society, including Imperial College, ICLEI, SDSN, UCCRN, GEO among many others. The Resilience Brokers Programme is scheduled to launch in July 2018. Programme delivery partners are already fully committed and ready for launch.

If you are a city champion, impact investor, research group or potential delivery partner and would like to be a part of this great global mobilisation, this is the time to get in touch!

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To find out more, visit


Resilience Brokers Programme

Resilience Brokers Delivery Partners

Zug Guidelines to faith-consistent investing