The city-led network is launching a campaign to help cities better protect their vulnerable communities in the face of the fast-evolving COVID-19 pandemic
New York City, United States (April 7, 2020) – Leveraging its network of 98 cities, representing over 220 million people worldwide, the Global Resilient Cities Network (GRCN) “Cities on the Frontline” campaign enables communication between cities to spread knowledge and best resilience practices between cities in a bid to reduce the impact of the virus.
“City leaders are on the frontline of the COVID-19 response and need to identify and prioritize resources for their vulnerable communities,” said Lauren Sorkin, GRCN’s Acting Executive Director. “Communication is key. As we’ve seen in cities such as Singapore, clear and frequent messaging about the risks and roles local actors can play can significantly help limit transmission.”
The GRCN is the international organization spearheading the global urban resilient movement. Through its extensive network, it works to make cities more resilient so they anticipate, manage through and overcome acute shocks, like the current global pandemic, as well as the stresses they exacerbate like inadequate public health infrastructure or a shrinking middle class.
Through Cities on the Frontline, the GRCN is offering real-time support, advice and tools to cities both inside and outside of its Network, as many struggle with challenges such as overloaded public health systems and the shutdown of businesses, transport, and public life.
A new, curated, city-to-city sharing channel is at the core of the GRCN’s Cities on the Frontline campaign. The channel has allowed cities such as Milan and Seoul to exchange their experiences of preparing for and coping with the COVID-19 crisis.
It also allows vital data and knowledge sharing between members to encourage a quicker and more efficient response to the pandemic, potentially reducing the impact on the most vulnerable.
In conjunction with the World Bank, the GRCN is hosting weekly on-line Speakers Series ‘Cities on the Frontline’ highlighting measures cities are taking and what lessons other cities can apply to both response and recovery.
“Through this combined effort of the World Bank’s City Resilience Program and the Global Resilient Cities Network, we are able to document and quickly disseminate relevant experiences from many cities around the world. This is a case where we can all learn from each other. Exchanging information will be central to the effectiveness of our collective response around the world.” said Francis Ghesquiere, Practice Manager for Urban and DRM in the East Asia Region of the World Bank.
While working to overcome the disease outbreaks, resilient cities are also preparing for what will come in the future. Learning valuable lessons on their path to recovery and building what the “new normal” will be after the crisis has passed, together with their stakeholders.
Mike Gillooly, Christchurch Chief Resilience Officer and co-Chair of the GRCN Global Steering Committee said, “Planning for recovery needs to be embedded into the response now and not wait for the tail of the pandemic to subside. There is an unprecedented opportunity to deepen and extend the knowledge from our Resilient Cities Network to embed resilience into recovery planning and deliver multiple benefits for communities, local economies, critical infrastructure and the climate.”
About the Global Resilient Cities Network
The Global Resilient Cities Network (GRCN) is the city-led organization that is driving urban resilience action to protect vulnerable communities from climate change and other physical, social and economic urban adversities and challenges. With support from The Rockefeller Foundation and other funding strategic partners, the Network aims to continue supporting cities and their Chief Resilience Officers in future-proofing their communities and critical infrastructure with a unique reach, strength and legacy to understand and support the challenges of the ever-growing urban society.