What is a Chief Resilience Officer?

Editor's note: Please see the updated description of what it takes to be a Chief Resilience Officer and do what a CRO does. Updated 3.18.2015


For the first time in human history, more than 50% of the world’s population can be found in urban areas. The modern city is being taxed and tested in ways that have never been seen before: population density, climate change, economic instability, social inequality, migration, and resource scarcity. Every city should develop and implement a resilience strategy in order to withstand shocks and stresses like these and bounce back stronger, and this strategy should be driven by the city’s Chief Resilience Officer.

So, what’s a Chief Resilience Officer?

A Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) is a top-level advisor that reports directly to the city mayor. Their task is to establish a compelling resilience vision for his or her city, working across departments and with the local community to maximize innovation and minimize the impact of unforeseen events.

The best CROs will possess a wide array of skills:

1. Leadership

CRO must be able to inspire, influence, and enlist colleagues and city residents to activate the city’s resilience strategy.

2. Ability to engage locally

CRO must understand their community and local setting and be able to establish and maintain strong engagement from municipal leader, city residents, and key stakeholders.

3. Ability to engage globally

CRO must be able to represent the city in global forums in order to share information, ideas, best practices, and more effectively develop innovative solutions.

4. Ability to function across disciplines

CRO must be able to communicate with and be effective within multiple sectors and disciplines such as transportation, energy, healthcare, housing, education, and community engagement.

5. Enterprising spirit

CRO must be resourceful and willing to experiment, pursue new ideas and take risks.

6. Effective communicator

Storytelling and other forms of communication will be critical for driving the resilience conversation in the city and engaging stakeholder support.

7. Project management

CRO must be able to manage multiple streams of work and multiple relationships in an effective and efficient manner.

100 Resilient Cities hopes to build a long-lasting global community of practice around urban resilience, and the 33 CROs in the inaugural cohort will be the founding members of that new community, and will shape how the network evolves over time.

The first cohort of 100RC cities will announce their CROs over the next few months. Stay tuned to this blog to follow their resilience-building journey.

Head photo: NeilsPhotography, Flickr

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