Chief resilience officer sought for Christchurch

The New York-based Rockefeller Foundation is pledging international resources to help Christchurch become more resilient to future disaster.

Christchurch is one of 33 cities worldwide selected to join the foundation's 100 Resilient Cities network and yesterday authorities here took their first step towards formulating a resilience plan for the city when they hosted a workshop for community leaders.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the workshop was the city's first opportunity to begin serious discussions on building resilience.

"When I use the word resilience I mean it in the true sense of the word - not that kind of stoic, in the face of adversity sense, but in the broader sense that means communities actually leading for themselves and playing a core, critical part in the decision-making," Dalziel said.

"I want us to really take what has happened here, learn the lessons and grow the strength of the city as a whole so that we can make this the opportunity that it truly could be.

"What's the point of having a disaster if you can't turn it into the incredible opportunity that it is?"

As a result of Christchurch's inclusion in the Resilient Cities network, the Rockefeller Foundation will fund the appointment of a chief resilience officer and provide support to create a resilience plan that reflects the city's needs.

The Resilient Cities platform partners, who include SwissRe, Palantir, Sandir and AECOM, will chip in with tools and resources to help implement the plan.

Resilient Cities vice-president Bryna Lipper said those partners would be able to help Christchurch along every step of its resilience journey by providing everything from technical assistance through to helping implement large capital projects.

A coalition of "resilience professionals" would be built so that Christchurch could learn from other places who have gone through similar experiences.

Dalziel said the resilience plan would be driven by the community.

"A strategy is not a strategy if it is top-down. The very clear message we've had, not only from the Rockefeller Foundation but also from international literature, is that governments can't do this for communities. We can help communities do it for themselves."

The Press