The Rockefeller Foundation names El Paso as an Inaugural City of the 100 Resilient Cities Network

The Rockefeller Foundation names El Paso as an Inaugural City of the 100 Resilient Cities Network

POSTED: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 9:11am

UPDATED: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 9:13am

The Rockefeller Foundation Tuesday announced that El Paso has been selected to join the 100 Resilient Cities [100RC] Network thanks to the efforts by the City of El Paso’s Office of Sustainability and The University of Texas at El Paso.

America’s Sun City was one of nearly 400 cities across six continents to apply for the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, which was kicked off in May 2013. The announcement came at the Foundation’s third annual Innovation Forum titled, “Building Resilient Cities,” which was held in partnership with the Financial Times in New York City.

“We congratulate El Paso, Texas on being named one of the 100 Resilient Cities,” said Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. “Your city will be able to better prepare for, withstand, and bounce back more effectively in the face of shocks, stresses and other vulnerabilities. El Paso is now part of a global network of urban areas focused on building resilience, to share best practices and lead by example for cities throughout the world.”

Upon the recommendations of a panel of distinguished leaders from around the world, the first group of 33 cities was named to the network, which included El Paso. Leaders such as President Bill Clinton made their recommendations based on how a city planned to approach and build greater resilience; how a city would incorporate a range of constituents (e.g., civil society, local businesses, and academia) in its resilience planning and implementation; and how the needs of the vulnerable would be addressed.

“We are extremely excited to be part of this international network and take El Paso to the next level,” said Mayor Oscar Leeser in response to the announcement. “Listening to our people’s needs and most importantly meeting them has been my priority since day one of my term. El Paso’s participation in the 100 Resilient Cities Network will grant us the opportunity to meet those needs and serve as a global leader in resilience plan design.”

The 100RC Network aims to meet Rockefeller’s mission of promoting the well-being of humanity throughout the world. Whereas there is an array of needs throughout the world, 100RC places urban resilience at the forefront due to the global impact growing urban areas can have. By 2050, more than 75 percent of the world’s population will reside in urban settings proving how imperative this initiative along with El Paso’s participation is.

“El Paso will be at the forefront of a global movement where our state of mind will shift from a risk management perspective to a resilience-thinking context,” explains Marty Howell, Chief Sustainability Office for the City of El Paso. “Risk-management is necessary but inherently limited. The 100RC will help us create a resilience plan that will enable our city to not only react to varying challenges but be proactive to the possibility of them as well.”

According to El Paso city officials, El Paso, which serves as the world’s largest bi-national urban area, will be able to offer an incredibly unique perspective due to its geographical location. “UTEP is very pleased to join the City of El Paso in its participation in the ‘100 Resilient Cities Network’ initiative,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “As we begin the celebration of UTEP’s Centennial in 2014, this collaboration offers yet another great example of the close ties between UTEP and the surrounding U.S.-Mexico border region that we serve.  Our students, faculty and staff look forward to this opportunity to share their expertise and fulfill their strong commitment to building resilience and enhancing the quality of life of all residents of our binational community.”

As part of the 100 Resilient Cities Network, El Paso will receive support to hire a Chief Resilience Officer, create a resilience strategy, and receive access to tools, technical support, and resources for implementing a comprehensive resilience plan. Initial partners for this platform of services—including Swiss Re, Palantir, the World Bank, the American Institute of Architects, and Architecture for Humanity—united at the Clinton Global Initiative in September to commit to providing support in design thinking, planning, and alternate services.

In April 2013, El Paso was also named one of eight cities nationwide, and out of 50 applicants, by The RE.invest Initiative to develop sustainable innovative approaches to meet critical infrastructure needs throughout our community. “The joint efforts of these two selections will only mean great things for our city’s future,” states Howell.

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