Introducing the Community of Practice in the Latin American, Regional Resilient Cities Initiative


July 7, 2021. At global level, the impacts from climate change, overexploitation of natural resources, inequalities created by economic crises and social problems, mainly affect our cities. At the same time, it is in these cities where we find a concentration of opportunities to advance innovative solutions to said challenges.

In 2017, the Resilient Cities Network, Avina Foundation and the BID-LAB, with support from Citi, began the Regional Resilient Cities Initiative with the objective of pushing innovative solutions for strengthening urban resilience  in Latin America with help from the private sector to implement resilience  plans using these three focal points:

1. Strengthening the ecosystem for urban resilience

2. Focusing on innovation for resilience by identifying challenges in selected cities

3. Creating a Community of Practice

On July 7, we presented the Community of Practice from the Regional Resilient Cities Initiative through a webinar featuring four key presenters from the participating institutions: Eugene Zapata Garesché, Regional Director for Latin America in the Resilient Cities Network; Gabriel Baracatt, Executive Director from the Avina Foundation; Paula Aurebach, Senior Specialist with the BID-Lab y Ricardo Dessy, Chief of Public Relations and Government for South Cone and Chief Economist for Citi Foundation.

Eugene Zapata explained that resilience in cities is not solely a government task, but also requires work from all players in the area, like organizations, foundations, communities and the private sector, which play essential roles. The most innovative part of the Resilient Cities Initiative is achieving joint work alongside smaller and mid-sized industries. “This Community of Practice will serve to share inspirational experiences that can be replicated.”

Gabriel Baracatt described the initiative in four words: hope, resilience, innovation, and collaboration. The community will be an indispensable space to share experiences so we can generate a list of options to offer tools that contribute to fortifying urban resilience and help us to construct what we envision our cities can be, together.

Paula Aurebach noted that innovation and entrepreneurship are crucial to drive sustainable development of our cities. The initiative has promoted creation of networks with non-traditional allies, use of technology to democratize opportunities and groups with not only solid technical skills but also soft skills. The Community of Practice in the initiative will be an opportunity to capitalize on these innovations and to foster ecosystems of resilient  entrepreneurship in the region.

Finally, Ricardo Dessy recognized that the initiative has promoted participation from the private sector in the creation of solutions addressing the challenges found in cities, whose added value is the generation of synergies and for learning about their differences. Dessy also recognized that “communicating through the Community of Practice will allow us to generate a network of collaboration and include principles of business models to generate initiatives with a long-term vision.”

About the Community of Practice

The “Impact Challenges” was created as part of the Resilient Cities Initiative, incentivizing technological and social innovation while also promoting new business models. These models include tools to overcome social, environmental, and economic challenges, allowing the potential for collaboration between members to develop successful and novel solutions. These projects are currently centered around themes for the circular economy and gender equality, utilizing mentors and support for the endeavors of the four regional cities: Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mexico City, Mexico; Quito, Ecuador; and Salvador, Brazil.

The Community of Practice collects the information on the recognized challenges in the participating cities, thus in the case of their endeavors, the city’s innovations and contributions to their projects will create more resilient cities. Thus, local authorities and decision-making personnel in new cities can develop their own programs based on what has already been implemented. In addition, the business sector will be able to identify innovative solutions and incorporate them to promote responsible consumption.

Learn more about the Community of Practice for the Resilient Cities Initiative here.

Introducing the Community of Practice in the Latin American, Regional Resilient Cities Initiative