Working in Mexico and getting out into nature

by Jun 23, 2022News

Dear Friends,

We hope this finds you in good health. It is a pleasure to share our latest news, including our work with Yucatan state, facilitation in nature and attending the Global Resilience Forum in Miami.

The Resilience Brokers team are excited about working collaboratively towards fairer, healthier, more climate-resilient places & livelihoods, and we love co-developing new opportunities with our friends and colleagues.

If you have comments, questions, suggestions or would like to collaborate with Resilience Brokers, get in touch with us.

Mission to Mexico: Pathway for a Sustainable Covid-19 Recovery in Yucatán 🇲🇽

Our collaborative project with GIZ México and the Yucatán State Government works to identify how Yucatán State can use enhanced data and modelling infrastructure skills to link economic, environmental and social development in a sustainable recovery from Covid-19. 

As part of the project, Stephen Passmore, our CEO, and Anne Giles, Senior Programme Manager for International Initiatives, completed a two-week mission to Mexico City and Yucatán State in May to undertake a series of meetings, skill-sharing sessions and workshops with stakeholders. Themes of discussion included open data, sustainability and climate adaptation, and environmental challenges facing Yucatán State, such as water contamination, waste disposal and disaster-risk reduction. Dr Philipp Ulbrich, a Resilience Brokers affiliate, Andrew Simmons, research director, and Andre Head, product and services director, also supported the stakeholder workshops through virtual sessions on climate resilience, citizen science and digital skills. 

While in Mexico City, Stephen and Anne had the opportunity to meet with the UK Embassy, GIZ Mexico’s secretariat, multilaterals and think tanks including World Resources Institute (WRI), and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). In Yucatán, they also met with state government departments and a number of local, non-governmental organisations carrying out inspiring work. 

The project has now moved into the rapid prototyping phase, utilising the expertise and insights of local stakeholders as part of a technical working group. We look forward to updating you in a few months as we continue to progress this exciting project.

Stephen and Anne are grateful to colleagues from GIZ Mexico and Yucatan state for their generous hospitality and ongoing support, allowing the success of the mission.

Read more about the project (también disponible en español).

Facilitation in Nature – Change in Nature 🌳

We recognise within our projects the importance of effective and empathetic facilitation skills to convene collaborative spaces that aim to identify solutions to challenges facing local regions. Team member James Green recently attended Change in Nature, a  ‘nature facilitation’ course to develop and practise facilitation skills whilst embedded in a natural setting. The week-long course took place on the grounds of the stunning, ecologically-rich Hawkwood College Centre for Future Thinking, where cultural frameworks such as Jon Young’s ‘Eight Shields Model’ and Joanna Macy’s ‘Work That Reconnects’ were practised and embodied by course participants. 

The course explored how the diversity and richness of nature can elicit inspiration and imaginative thinking within a group. Proving that to creatively co-develop solutions to the local and global challenges we face today, we must learn to use nature as a stage for facilitating, convening collaborative spaces and the co-development of positive ideas. 

Perhaps most important of all, sometimes we need to sit in silence, listen and let nature do the talking. [James’s colleagues are grateful to him for sharing with them, in a special virtual session with the team outdoors in their respective locations, his experiences and some of the techniques he learned from the course retreat.]

                                             Photo by Change in Nature


Global Resilience Forum in Miami 👥 

At the generous invitation of Arsh-Rock (Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center), Andrew Simmons participated in the Global Resilience Forum in Miami in early May. With an eclectic range of speakers, including newly-minted municipal ‘chief heat officers’ (CHOs), game designers and artists, a central theme was how communities can build resilience and better adapt to extreme urban heat. In addition to catching up with Resilience Brokers’ friends, including Joyce Coffee of Climate Resilience Consulting, Mark Harvey of Resurgence Urban Impact and Eugenie Birch from the Penn Institute for Urban Research, and learning about their recent projects, Andrew was particularly inspired by Freetown, Sierra Leone. 

Freetown’s forward-looking activities include gender mainstreaming policies and projects like co-locating new nurseries and preschools in the city’s newly-shaded markets for mothers working there (and ensuring girls are as equally enrolled as boys), to the community co-design of informal-settlement upgrades. The #FreetownTheTreeTown campaign for one million trees in two years, is increasing the city’s vegetation cover by 50%, with community-growing ‘tree stewards’ using open-source tools to track progress. The initiative targets locations like Freetown’s public spaces and informal settlements, as well as deforested hillsides and mangroves along eroding riverbanks to tackle landslides, subsidence and flooding and to restore biodiversity — a compelling example of the plethora of catalytic ‘co-benefits’ a systems lens, coupled with sustained civic-community partnering, can bring about.

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, mayor of Freetown, and Eugenia Kargbo,chief heat officer, in conversation with Liz Yee from Rockefeller Foundation.  

Work we love ❤️

 …and recommend you check out!

  • Given the heat waves being experienced around the world, we recommend the ‘Heat Communication Guide for the Cities in South Asia, published by Resurgence, IFRC’s Climate Centre, ICLEI South Asia, CDKN and others.
  • ARISE, a voluntary network of private-sector entities for UNDRR, has developed their free-to-use “CAMS” (Critical Asset Management System) tool. Designed as a simple software tool, CAMS enables cities and regions to catalogue their critical assets, map the relationships and dependencies between them and their exposure to hazards and cascading risk and export the interoperable data into other application uses. Peter Williams from Pivot Projects introduced CAMS to the Pivot community, with Resilience Brokers team members joining; a recorded UNDRR webinar from ARISE demonstrating the tool is available here
  • Bristol’s Pandemic Preparedness and Recovery Dashboard uses open-source data to map health risks, social and economic vulnerabilities and digital preparedness. The dashboard, developed by the SecDev Group (with support from RS21, Mapbox and others), visualises community indicators and an index of 40 metrics so that decision makers, health leaders and stakeholders can better understand and respond to the population groups most at risk. 
  • A timeless podcast from CODATA’s urban heath and wellbeing programme moderated by Shaily Gandhi, ‘Trust is the Heart for Urban Wellbeing features an engaging discussion with Theresa Anderson and Ana Ortigoza on the ethical considerations underpinning data determination and data use and also methods of building trust in the context of urban health-related research and decision making.  Stay tuned – our next newsletter shall feature more on the work of Anderson, a Sydney-based data and information ethicist and educator, and Ortigoza, an epidemiologist and physician with Drexel University’s SALURBAL (Urban Health in Latin America) project. 

 For all enquiries get in touch with us