The City’s Chief Resilience Officer will lead city-wide efforts to build holistic resilience to the social, physical and economic challenges that are an increasing part of the 21st Century. Read more below:
In partnership with 100 Resilient Cities, pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, the City of Cape Town today announced the appointment of Craig Kesson as its Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) during the City’s resilience agenda-setting workshop. 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) is dedicated to building resilience in cities around the world.
The CRO is an innovative new position in the City of Cape Town to lead the City’s resilience efforts and engage with stakeholders, resilience experts, and 100RC staff in developing a comprehensive resilience strategy. Mr Kesson’s appointment as the CRO has been officially endorsed by Council.
This follows the announcement of the City of Cape Town becoming a part of 100RC in May 2016.
Cape Town was chosen from more than 325 applicants on the basis of our willingness, ability, and need to become resilient in the face of future challenges.
As a member of 100RC, the City of Cape Town will gain access to tools, funding, technical expertise, and other resources to build resilience to the challenges of the 21st Century.
Mr Kesson’s designation as CRO is an addition to his existing duties as Executive Director in the Directorate of the Mayor. Mr Kesson will not receive any additional remuneration in his position as the CRO.
Mr Kesson has fulfilled a number of senior strategy, policy, management, and communication roles during his six years in the City administration. He has also advised a number of metro governments.
He is a graduate of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of Stellenbosch Business School, the University of Liverpool, and the University of Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar. His specialisations are in public policy and strategy, project portfolios, and operations modelling.
‘I am pleased that Council has endorsed Craig’s appointment as CRO. We have high expectations of the CRO. Craig has impressive abilities to align strategy with implementation, monitoring, and evaluation and hence I am confident that he will be able to institutionalise improved resilience responses into the City administration,’ said City of Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille.
Mr Kesson’s appointment has also been welcomed by the 100 Resilient Cities President, Michael Berkowitz.
‘City governments are on the front line of dealing with acute shocks and chronic stress. Cape Town is part of a group of cities leading the way on resilience to better prepare for, withstand, and recover more effectively when disruption hits. Craig joins a network of peers from cities across the globe that will share best practice and surface innovative thinking. Through this partnership, Craig will become a global leader in resilience, and will be an asset for Cape Town and other cities around the world – forging new partnerships and new solutions for the city,’ said Mr Berkowitz.
Today’s workshop brought together a diverse set of stakeholders from across city government, academia, non-profit organisations, and the private sector in an effort to identify the resilience vulnerabilities that the city is facing.
Participants identified and discussed the city’s priority challenges and the extent to which further resilience can be attained. More information on the identified stresses and shocks will be shared with the public as the process of crafting the City’s first resilience strategy unfolds.
Some of the stakeholders who participated in the agenda-setting workshop today include the Black Management Forum, academics in the fields of environmental and geographical science and climate change adaptation, the Western Cape Police Ombudsman, Habitat for Humanity, the Development Action Group, Sustainable Energy Africa, GreenCape, and others.
The City’s engagement with the diverse set of organisations represents a commitment to participatory democracy, inclusiveness, and the principles of the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan to become a more progressive, responsive, proactive, and customer-centric administration.
Each city in the 100RC network receives four concrete types of support:
· Financial and logistical guidance for establishing an innovative new position in city government, a Chief Resilience Officer, who will lead the city’s resilience efforts
· Technical support for development of a robust resilience strategy
· Access to solutions, service providers, and partners from the private, public, and non-governmental organisation sectors who can help them develop and implement their resilience strategies
· Membership in a global network of member cities who can learn from and help each other
‘We are thrilled to formally begin our partnership with 100RC. With the support of 100RC, we will identify some of the key resilience challenges that the city is facing, develop a strategy to address these challenges, and put resources in place to implement that plan. For the City of Cape Town, urban resilience is a core factor in achieving our strategic objectives to build a caring, inclusive, safe, opportunity and well-run city. Cities are the drivers of change and we stand ready to tackle the challenges and create a better Cape Town for the people of our great city,’ added Mayor De Lille.
The process of developing this strategy and further consultations will be led by the CRO who will use the data and information sourced from today’s workshop as a starting point.
For more information on 100RC, residents can visit: www.100ResilientCities.org