• ICE Global Engineering Congress

The Resilience Shift is equipping practitioners and decision makers with the tools, approaches, technology, and educational practices needed to put resilience into practice. What exists already? And what do we need to develop to realise the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals?

Join us at the ICE Global Engineering Congress for a high energy workshop exploring tools and approaches including a sneak peek at our new resilient water governance tool. The workshop is on Thursday 25th from 10:30-12:00 and is entitled “Making resilience practical, tangible and relevant”

Juliet Mian, our Technical Director, is speaking on a panel on the same day from 16:00-17:00. This panel is entitled “Maximising the application of sustainability solutions in an interconnected world”.

More information to come.

That’s a quote from one of the papers in the latest issue of Environment Systems and Decisions, which just published updated versions of a set of research papers Resilience Shift commissioned in 2016 as part of an initial agenda setting exercise, to get ideas for how to design, deliver and operate for resilience.

What I love about the quote is that it’s from a 1981 monograph by Peter Timmerman commissioned by the Canadian government to help understand how to think about vulnerability, adaptation and resilience to the impacts of climate change. Thirty-seven years later and most societies are still struggling to understand this idea and to operationalize it.

It is also a nice succinct way of describing the remit of the Resilience Shift, with its focus on resilience engineering – i.e., on the professional practices that can ensure engineered structures and infrastructure will be planned, designed, delivered, regulated and operated to serve the communities (provide, protect, and/or connect) under ordinary and extraordinary circumstances.

Here’s the heart of the conundrum: although engineering isn’t the only domain that contributes to the resilience or lack thereof of critical infrastructure, society does call on and rely on engineering for creating and managing resilience, as the paper in this issue by Pearson et al. reminds us. But traditionally, engineers aren’t trained for, expected to, or paid to deliver community – from where resilience emerges and where lack of resilience is felt.

In “Engineering Meets Institutions”, Naderpajoul et al. (who found that wonderful quote from Timmerman look at the challenge and the complexity of managing for resilience. Recognizing that although engineering is a principal domain associated with critical infrastructure, managing critical infrastructure successfully for resilience requires an interdisciplinary approach.

The articles in this issue collectively help make resilience more practical, tangible, and relevant to researchers and practitioners alike. They gamely contribute to a nascent understanding of what “resilience engineering” is, even though much controversy remains over definitions of resilience, more generally.

Please see here for the open access introduction to the special issue

The whole issue is here . https://link.springer.com/journal/10669/38/3/page/1  but, unfortunately, most of the papers are behind a paywall.

And the complete set of original white papers are available on the Resilience Shift website: http://resilienceshift.org/publications/

Will Goode, Programme Director of the Resilience Shift, is presenting a session at the Major Projects Association Annual Conference 2018, taking place over 19 and 20 September 2018. Will explains the questions he will be exploring.

In their own words the Major Projects Association is a membership association for organisations engaged in the delivery and the development of major projects, programmes and portfolios. Membership comprises organisations engaged in a wide variety of commercial and public enterprises. They operate in a wide variety of fields including: manufacturing, construction, defence, transportation, IT, government departments, consultancies and law, as well as those engaged in the academic study of major projects.

The desire from members is to hone their skills; to improve best practice; and to investigate innovative solutions for the many problems encountered during major projects, programmes and portfolios.

I first encountered the Major Projects Association while I was working on the HS2 project and took part in their course ‘The Challenge of Major Projects’.

The course was excellent. I was introduced to new perspectives of an industry that I thought I had a good handle on, hearing from a variety of major project professionals and stakeholders including HM Treasury, delivery partners, infrastructure clients, civil servants, management consultants, lawyers and more. All of whom view and understand major projects slightly differently, or put another way, get different types of value from major projects at different points in their value chain.

My big takeaway from the course was the insight that I gained from a brief introduction to the Project Initiation Routemap. This is a tool developed between government and the private sector. It aims to improve the initiation phases of the major projects, primarily in the UK and the highest level messages of which are: assess complexity, assess capability, plan enhancements then deliver enhancements.

I’m delighted to have been invited to speak at this year’s MPA Annual Conference about the link between major projects and critical infrastructure resilience. We’ll be exploring; what can we do at the various stages of major projects to increase resilience, both for the project itself, but most importantly for the asset or system that the project is focussed on delivering? What do we need to consider to be able to do this? and why should we bother at all?

I look forward to exploring these questions with the same variety of people that broadened my horizons on the challenge of Major Projects course a few years ago.

Hosted by the Resilient Cape Town team, this 100 Resilience Cities event will convene City Officials, City Partners, 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) Platform Partners, Subject Matter Advisors, and 100RC staff to drive innovation and thought leadership in response to drought and water security challenges, which are shared by multiple cities in our network and around the world.

Louise Ellis from Resilience Shift will be participating in this event, along with many our collaborators from the Global Knowledge Exchange and in relation to our work on water resilience governance.

Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) helps cities around the world to become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

“If resilience had any real economic and societal value, then decision makers would be implementing it already”

At the Resilience Shift, our aim is a safer and better world through resilient infrastructure. This debate and audience Q&A, at the Global Knowledge Exchange event on 22 August 2018, posed this challenging question in a lively and opinionated discussion.

The views and opinions raised as part of this classic debating format do not represent the panel’s own views or those of any associated organisations.

Chaired by Dr Mark Fletcher, Global Water Leader, Arup, the panel included (pictured from left to right):

  • Trevor Bishop, Director of Strategy and Planning, OFWAT
  • Juliet Mian, Technical Director, Resilience Shift
  • Fred Boltz, CEO Resolute Development Solutions, and Chair, City Water Resilience Framework
  • Dr Mark Fletcher, Global Water Leader, Arup
  • Ruth Boumphrey, Director of Research, Lloyd’s Register Foundation
  • Cayley Green, Senior Resilience Analyst, City of Cape Town
  • Diego Juan Rodriguez, Senior Water Resources Management Specialist, World Bank

The full debate:

The audience Q&A

Savina Carluccio from Resilience Shift will be hosting a technical session at this World Bank conference providing examples of how resilience value can be delivered and resilience enhanced at different (spatial) scales.

Entitled ‘Enhancing resilience: from asset to city scale’, this will be a practical session on how risk fits into the wider context of resilience. The session will cover different scales of resilience from individual asset to city resilience:

City resilience, giving specific examples of implementation of the City Resilience Index – the first comprehensive tool for cities to understand and assess their resilience, enhancing their ability to build sound strategies and plans for a strong future

The World Bank Urban Rail Design Guidebook – Practical guidance on embedding resilience to climate and natural hazards in urban rail projects

Resilience of the Corridor X Highway Project and other infrastructure in the Western Balkans – measures taken to strengthen environmental and social performance

The Resilience Shift – a global initiative to re-orient professional practice from a focus on infrastructure as an asset, to a focus on infrastructure as part of a system that provides services under both ordinary and extraordinary circumstances and the role tools and approaches can play in enhancing resilience.

Presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and a feedback session


Cayley Green presenting on Cape Town’s water resilience challenges

Water resilience has been a key focus for us over August. We brought cities and stakeholders together at a three-day event – the Global Knowledge Exchange – hosted at Lloyd’s Register Foundation in London.

Water resilience is a connecting factor for cities as diverse as Miami, Mexico City, Amman, Hull and Cape Town. Following our fieldwork with them earlier this year, we heard from city representatives about the challenges they face. Together we continue to shape our resilient water governance work as well as our input to the Rockefeller Foundation-funded City Water Resilience Framework, co-hosts of the event.

At SIWI World Water Week, our events included a SIWI sofa panel discussing the Governance for Resilient Urban Water Systems project and the City Water Resilience Framework. A structured one-day programme of events supported a global focus on how to build a resilient future through water, with a number of high level dialogue sessions.

We also asked leading water resilience scientists and practitioners to present their current work in our showcase on water systems resilience design for urban systems, basins and transboundary water sources.

Water also became a personal issue for those in our team taking part in EarthEx. This online interactive exercise aimed to provide organisations and individuals with a forum to discuss, develop and test organisational plans to improve resilience to Black Sky Hazards. As an individual taking part in the exercise, the importance of water for our short- and long-term survival was brought home through your choices of priority items to keep your family safe during such an event.

We know that water is only one of the industry sectors we need to work with to achieve a shift towards resilience within and between critical infrastructure systems.  The initial deadline closed for expressions of interest to develop industry-specific resilience primers. Thank you to all those who applied for this round.

Our work exploring the role that policy and regulation has to play is also moving forward, with plans in place to undertake several small scoping studies in this area, exploring recent developments in Australia as a starting point.

We discovered some more useful publications, including: ‘Resilience of Critical Infrastructures: Review and analysis of Current Approaches’ which considers the current issues surrounding the development of resilience metrics; ‘Safety and Reliability – Safe Societies in a changing world’ which represents the proceedings of the 2018 European Safety and Reliability Conference, and has a subsection around the topic of Resilience Engineering; ‘A value-based approach to infrastructure resilience’ that is a development from a paper previously submitted by two of our Grantees from MMI Engineering during the Resilience Shift’s first year, and who are currently working with us on our tools and approaches project.

This autumn, among other events, we’ll be at the 100 Resilient Cities CoLab Building a Water Resilient City in Cape Town, and at the World Bank Understanding Risk Balkans Conference in Belgrade, also the Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE)’s Global Engineering Congress in London. Get in touch if you’ll be attending.

You can continue to apply to us with specific expressions of interest and also submit your ideas generally. However there will be other specific calls throughout our programme. To avoid missing them, sign up to our blog round up to receive news of further opportunities for funding resilience projects.

The Resilience Shift hosted a special showcase of advances in thinking and practice.

The session, Project Showcase on Water Resilience Design and Execution: the State of the Art, featured advances in resilience and complex systems theory, hydrosystems engineering, urban systems planning, and water governance and human dimensions of water management.

We asked leading water resilience scientists and practitioners to present their current work on water systems resilience design for urban systems, basins, and transboundary water sources.

The moderated, interactive session featured advances in planning and decision support tools, resilience diagnosis and design approaches, and applied work in representative cities and basins of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas.

We also previewed scientific research forming a special issue of the journal Water Security:Water is the Master Variable: Solving for Resilience in the Modern Era“.  This will be published this autumn.

Partners in the showcase include Arup, the Global Water Partnership, Resolute Development Solutions, SIWI, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum.

The photo illustrating this article is by the artist Edward Burtynsky. Examples of his photographic work of water landscapes recently featured in a curated exhibition at Arup.


16:00-16:10 Water Resilience Design and Execution: the State of the Art
Dr. Fred Boltz, Resolute Development Solutions and the Resilience Shift

16:10-16:22 City-Source Interdependencies and Water Resilience: Mexico City and the Valley of Mexico
Sarah Freeman, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

16:22-16:34 Urban Systems Planning through a Water Lens: the City Water Resilience Framework
Alexa Bruce, ARUP

16:34-16:46 City Water Resilience in Practice
Dr. Gisela Kaiser, City of Cape Town, South Africa

16:46-16:58 Designing for Resilience in Transboundary Waters
Anjali Lohani, Global Water Partnership

16:58-17:10 Decision Support Tools and Technologies for Urban Water Resilience
Glen Low, Earth Genome and World Economic Forum 4IR Urban Water Initiative

17:10-17:30 Interactive Discussion with the Audience: Practicing the State of the Art


Update: Fred Boltz speaking at the event today.

At World Water Week, the Resilience Shift is supporting a global focus on how to build a resilient future through water, through a number of high level dialogue sessions. Sessions are hosted by the Resilience Shift in partnership with SIWI and the Rockefeller Foundation.

In 2018, global agendas will focus on water and ecosystems at large. The UN-HLPF will address progress for SDG6 (water, sanitation) and other goals (energy, cities, sustainable consumption and production, ecosystems). The HLPF will present its concluding report and CBD COP14, Ramsar COP13 and UNFCCC COP24 will cover key water issues. UN members eagerly seek the engagement of non-state actors’ multi-stakeholder groups to support the implementation of these global agendas.

World Water Week has become an agenda setter for annual stocktaking on water-related development goals. It is a pivotal moment when synergies between the global agendas can be identified and acted upon to foster coherent and efficient implementation by convening high-level government representatives, UN and multilateral institutions, civil society, academia, and the private sector.

For three years, SIWI has organized a two-part high-level session to exchange knowledge, enhance partnership and action and take stock on water-related progress of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement. This year’s edition is co-sponsored by The Rockefeller Foundation and The Resilience Shift. It will highlight advances in water, science, practice, policy with a view on water resilience as a paradigm for fulfilling our common agenda for sustainable development.


Session 1: SDG-Paris Agreement: Building a resilient future through water (part 1)


09:00     Welcome – Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, Stockholm International Water Institute

09:10      Key note message from COP presidency – H.E Tomasz Chruszczow, Special Envoy for Climate Change, The Ministry of Environment, Poland – tbc

09:20 Key note message – Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

09:30     Key note message – H.E Henk WJ Ovink, Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Kingdom of The Netherlands, and Sherpa to the High-Level Panel on Water

9:40     Feedbacks from Global Agendas – Panel discussion moderated by Ms. Maggie White, Senior Manager, International Policy, SIWI

  • Pamela Tshwete, Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, South Africa
  • Martha Rojas-Urrego, Secretary General of the Ramsar Wetlands Convention
  • Luqmon Isomatov, Head of Department, Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Republic of Tajikistan
  • Andrea Erickson, Managing Director, Global Water Team, The Nature Conservancy
  • Cate Lamb, Director of Water Security, CDP

10:25    Concluding statement

10:30    End of Part 1


Session 2: SDG-Paris Agreement: Building a resilient future through water (part 2)


11.00     Introduction – Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, SIWI welcomes and presents Dr. Fred Boltz, CEO, Resolute Development Solutions and Ambassador, The Resilience Shift

11:10     Once upon a time tomorrow: from Architecture to Photography, a different lens on our society and ecosystem symbiosis – M. Chris Morin-Eitner, Photographer

11:20     Key note speaker – From the Global Agenda to Cities’ action – Ms. Lauren Sorkin, Asia Pacific Regional Director, 100 Resilient Cities

11:30     Supporting the implementation of the Global agendas at a city level – Panel Discussion and Q&A – Moderated by Dr. Mark Fletcher, Global Water Director, ARUP

  • Mayor Katarina Luhr,Vice Mayor of Stockholm City
  • Jean-Didier Berthault, Vice President of Greater Paris sanitation Authority (SIAAP) and Greater Paris Metropolitan Councillor
  • Dr Gisela Kaiser, Executive Director of Water and Sanitation, City of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Eduardo Vazquez Herrera, Executive Director, Agua Capital, Mexico CitySC
  • Jennifer Sara, Director, Global water Practice, World Bank Group
  • Alexa Bruce, Project Manager, City Water Resilience Framework, Arup

12:25     Conclusion – Mr. Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director, Stockholm International Water Institute

12:30 Close of the Session


Session 3: Follow up on High Level Panel: Building a resilient future through water

Water is key to the success of all the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, and therefore essential for delivering on the 2030 Agenda that aims to transform our world into the future we want. It is also a key enabling factor for delivering on the other global agendas (Paris Climate Agreement, Sendai Disaster Risk Reduction, New Urban Agenda).

To achieve this, a new way of managing water is needed, to make societies more resilient, sustainable and inclusive. Multi-stakeholder representatives of the water and development community presented an open letter to UN member state representations, UN agencies and other leading global organizations in the run up to the High Level Political Forum.

This initiative, lead and coordinated by SIWI and key partners, aims to build a strong momentum back to back with the HLPF and World Water Week, leading towards a final document for the UN General Assembly that calls for action and illustrates means of how it can be achieved.

This SIWI Sofa will present the key initiatives announced during the High Level Dialogue session on ‘Building a Resilient Future Through Water’ that will contribute to this momentum.

Open letter and Policy brief on ‘Building a resilient future through water’

Water is key to the success of all the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, and therefore essential for delivering on the 2030 Agenda that aims to transform our world into the future we want. To achieve this, a new way of managing water is needed, to make societies more resilient, sustainable and inclusive. This open letter calls for action and takes a closer look at how this can be achieved.

We are delighted to have hosted a SIWI sofa event on Tuesday 28 August to discuss the City Water Resilience Framework and Governance for Resilient Urban Water Systems project as part of World Water Week.

Our SIWI Sofa session aims to showcase the work that we have been doing on urban water resilience including an introduction to the City Water Resilience Framework. We would like to capture the challenges our partner cities face, the value of the framework for the cities as well as sharing our successful fieldwork missions and the project next steps.

The partnership of the Resilience Shift, Arup and SIWI is developing a global framework, the City Water Resilience Framework, to help cities across the world to improve the resilience of their urban water system. The project is supported by Rockefeller Foundation, World Bank, 100 Resilient Cities, and University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Framework includes the develop of associated tools for understanding water governance and undertaking a resilience assessment. The framework is being co-developed with eight cities from around the world, including Cape Town, Mexico City, Greater Miami and the Beaches, Hull, Amman, Greater Manchester, Rotterdam and Thessaloniki.

Our panel:

  • Louise Ellis is a civil engineer at Arup and one of the team developing the City Water Resilience Framework.
  • Dr Gisela Kaiser is the Executive Director of Informal Settlements, Water and Waste at the City of Cape Town, which is one of the partner cities.
  • Fred Boltz is CEO at Resolute Development Solutions, formerly Rockefeller Foundation, and Chair of the Steering Committee for the City Water Resilience Framework
  • Eduardo Vazquez Herrera is the Executive Director of Agua Capital, a water fund in Mexico City.


The sofa session explored the key drivers, outcomes and objectives for the City Water Resilience Framework project, the challenges the cities have faced in diagnosing and building urban water resilience? The panel also discussed the question of value – both for cities, and for financial institutions and how the project has been co-developed with the city and other partners. Finally they considered the next steps for the project and their hopes for the future.

You can watch the session below – starting at 07:10 approximately.