Top of the COP: Creating climate resilient communities

Regions, cities, financial institutions, countries, and sectors from across society are stepping up to build the resilience of those most vulnerable to climate change. By Climate Champions | November 8, 2021

In brief: 

  • The Race to Resilience campaign today launches a metrics framework that for the first time allows cities, regions, businesses and investors to measure the progress of their work in building resilience to climate change for the 4 billion people most at risk by 2030.
  • Over 2.3 billion people and 100 natural systems and over 100 countries are so far covered by the work being carried out by the Race to Resilience’s partner initiatives.
  • A new US$150 million investment in agricultural regeneration, announced by the EverGreening Alliance at COP26, will build the resilience of rural communities in Africa.
  • A new guide, Infrastructure Pathways, will help practitioners build infrastructure that is both developed in a way that adapts to the changing climate and can withstand climate change-related disruptions.
  •  A Global Resilience Index goes live today, helping to improve the way insurers, financiers and investors measure the resilience of countries, companies and supply chains.
  • The Soros Economic Development Fund (Or Open Society Foundations) has said at COP26 that it will commit support for an equitable, community-driven climate resilience and green energy transformation in countries most vulnerable to climate change, including small island developing states. It is now considering specific investments in this area.
  • The Windows on Resilience programme of events has so far brought over 6,000 people through the Resilience Hub at COP26, elevating the voices of people on the frontlines of climate and facilitating discussions on shared challenges and solutions.
  • 33 cities join the Cities Race to Resilience campaign, including Edinburgh City joining today.

In depth: 

Measuring Resilience

A verified framework to track climate resilience: The Race to Resilience campaign has today launched its climate resilience metrics framework, which allows cities, regions, businesses and investors to measure if and how their work is actually building resilience for people and nature. The Race to Resilience, launched earlier this year, mobilizes local governments and the private sector behind commitments to build resilience for the 4 billion people most at risk from climate change by 2030.

Pledged, planned, delivered: Using that metrics framework, Race to Resilience partners are so far delivering actions which will increase the resilience of over 2.3 billion people by 2030 and over 100 natural systems including mangroves, forests and coastal zones.

→Why it matters: The metrics framework is the first-ever universal tool for cities, regions, businesses and investors to transparently measure and verify the impact of their climate resilience work. The framework was produced by the Race to Resilience campaign with support from the Centre for Climate Resilience and Research at the University of Chile and McKinsey & Company.

The framework allows actions to be tracked against where there is the greatest need for resilience and against specific hazards: heat stress, agricultural drought, urban water stress and riverine and coastal flooding. Analysis by McKinsey demonstrated that even with 1.5°C of warming, up to 4 billion people will be exposed to increased climate hazards by 2030.

Building Resilience 

Major investment boost for agricultural resilience: The Global EverGreening Alliance, along with Climate Asset Management, announced a partnership on Saturday to deliver a landmark $150 million programme for nature-based solutions in Africa. That includes:

  • The Restore Africa programme, which aims to restore more than 2 million hectares of land and support 2 million smallholder farms in the next five years in Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. It uses an innovative community-led  model that connects the local efforts of farmers with new revenue streams from global  carbon markets.
  • Support from the EverGreening Alliance to farmers to adopt regenerative and other sustainable land management practices and sequester greenhouse gas emissions at scale. This builds on the existing investments of smallholder farms and NGOs to restore degraded  ecosystems.

A guide to building resilient infrastructure: The International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure launches the Infrastructure Pathways , offering practitioners an easy-to-navigate guide to building climate resilient infrastructure. This ensures that new infrastructure is planned, implemented and managed in a way that prepares for and adapts to a changing climate; and that it can withstand, respond to and recover from disruptions.

→Why it matters: Increasing climate shocks can damage and destroy the critical infrastructure services that sustain the lives and livelihoods of all societies. The Infrastructure Pathway will  organize, explain and link information, guidance and tools from hundreds of sources across the infrastructure lifecycle. This will provide practical, mutually-reinforcing actions in each phase of infrastructure development, weaving a golden thread across systems and practitioners.

Global Resilience Index goes live: The new benchmark tool, first announced last week, will improve the way insurers, financiers and investors measure the resilience of countries, companies and supply chains. It was developed by Insurance Development Forum, a Race to Resilience partner, which simultaneously launched the Global Risk Modelling Alliance, an initiative formed with leaders of the 20 most vulnerable economies, to enhance local understanding of risk and accelerate the way financial institutions make decisions on resilience investments and residual risk transfer.

Racing for Resilience

Elevating frontline voices at COP: The Windows on Resilience programme, held in the COP26 Blue Zone’s Resilience Hub, provides a virtual platform to elevate the voices of people on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Over 6,000 people took part in the Resilience Hub in the first week of COP26, with speakers who are already dealing with the impacts of climate change talking to attendees about the shared challenges and solutions around building resilience for people as well as nature.

Cities Race to Resilience:  33 cities are now part of the Cities Race to Resilience, which launched in July. Edinburgh City will today become the first UK city to join. Cities are at the forefront of increasing climate disasters and also the first responders to the crises associated with climate change. The campaign mobilizes them to implement inclusive and resilient climate action ahead of and beyond the COP26.


Gonzalo Muñoz and Nigel Topping, High Level Climate Champions: “The Race to Resilience campaign has now taken a major step forward in creating knowledge on where there is greatest community need to build resilience to climate hazards. We are not stopping there though: the partners of the campaign have raised their level of ambition on creating climate resilience and are delivering actions today to build the resilience of communities so they can thrive, not just survive, in the face of a changed climate.”

The Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency and Secretary of State for International Trade: “The momentum, ambition and action mobilized by the Race to Resilience among non-state actors is fundamental to implementing effective and targeted adaptation action to protect the most vulnerable. At COP26 and beyond, I look forward to seeing these commitments turn into action, to tackle climate change head on and build local, national and global resilience to its impacts.”

Dr Saleemul Huq, Race to Resilience Ambassador, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh: “I commend the Race to Resilience for building a global coalition of partners who are taking action to build the resilience of urban, rural and coastal communities in over 100 countries. Their actions will reach over 2 billion people who are exposed to climate hazards and help regenerate systems of nature which are vital to both mitigation and resilience. This is just a start though: we need to support these efforts by increasing the level and quality of finance so these initiatives can be scaled and finance reaches the real agents of change on the ground.”



Private: Resilience

The Sharm el Sheikh Adaptation Agenda: Catalysing collaborative action towards a resilient future

Resilience experts and members of Race to Resilience’s MAG advisory group, Anand Patwardhan, Emilie Beauchamp, Ana Maria Lobo-Guerrero, and Paulina Aldunce, underline the transformative impact of the Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda in driving collaboration and fast-tracking action to bridge the adaptation gap and support the world’s most vulnerable communities.