H.E. Deputy Mayor Dr. Solomon Kidane and 100 Resilient Cities Launch Network Exchange on Urban Informality and Resilience

City officials from three continents convene with leading international organizations and experts to address the complex challenges of informality and resilience in rapidly growing urban areas

ADDIS ABABA – H.E. Deputy Mayor Dr. Solomon Kidane, the Addis Ababa Resilience Project Office, and 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) today commenced a three-day Network Exchange on Urban Informality and City Resilience. Precipitated by rapid urbanization, new levels of informal development have engendered both challenges and opportunity in cities across the Global South. This week’s Network Exchange convenes high-level officials from eight cities for a global conversation on the importance of integrating informality for stronger and more resilient cities.

Participating cities include Accra, Ghana; Cape Town, South Africa; Chennai, India; Lagos, Nigeria; Montevideo, Uruguay; Paynesville, Liberia; and Salvador, Brazil. Each is represented by a Chief Resilience Officer, a position in city government created and funded by 100RC to act as their city’s point person for resilience-building efforts and lead the development of a citywide Resilience Strategy. Also integral to the convening are high-level city delegates with expertise in informal systems and a range of subject matter experts from the 100RC global network and beyond, including partner organizations UN-Habitat, The World Bank, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, WhereIsMyTransport, and Dalberg Advisors.

“As the City of Addis Ababa adopts a resilience lens on some of our most complex challenges, we greatly value the experiences of cities spanning three continents,” said H.E. Deputy Mayor Dr. Solomon Kidane. “This will be a week of learning and collaboration, and we welcome our visitors to explore Addis Ababa as a living laboratory for informal and formal systems.”

Informal areas constitute a significant proportion of the world’s cities, supplying vital goods and services and providing sources of livelihood generation for some of the poorest and most vulnerable urban residents. Yet informality – in physical settlements, transport services, waste management, and within the economy – has historically been overlooked by official policy and planning. Furthermore, the roughly one billion people who live in urban informal settlements worldwide are more likely to be adversely affected by man-made or natural disasters due to inadequate infrastructure and critical services.

“Informality has emerged as an increasingly visible sign of urbanization across our global network,” said Liz Agbor-Tabi, Associate Director for City Resilience Delivery at 100 Resilient Cities. “We see the most success coming from cities that embrace informal sectors and begin to integrate informality into urban planning and in the delivery of core services. This Network Exchange is an exciting opportunity to loop these complexities into critical resilience efforts being undertaken by each participating city.”

A key component of 100RC – a global effort dedicated to helping cities better prepare for 21st Century economic, social, and physical challenges – is gathering member cities to share best practices, solve problems collectively, and access expertise from peers and partners. The Addis Ababa Network Exchange will focus on practices and tactical interventions that municipal leaders can use toward addressing the vulnerability of informal systems to resilience shocks and stresses, as well as integrating the best aspects of informality into formal city planning.

The Network Exchange will also result in a set of recommendations for cities around the world that are addressing the stresses associated with informal development – recognizing integration with formal urban systems as a core element in strengthening their resilience to future disasters and other shock events.

“Cities that will include informality and its complexities into city-wide strategies will strengthen their ability to not only adapt but thrive in the face of rapid growth,” said Fitsumbrhan Tsegaye, Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Addis Ababa. “To do this successfully requires the support and insight of our peers in cities that have gone through similar experiences, as well as from local and international partners who are critical for the implementation of multi-benefit solutions.”

Proclamation No. 89/2017 legally established the independent Addis Ababa Resilience Project Office (AARPO) for the period of five years. Under the leadership of Chief Resilience Officer Tsegaye, AARPO is responsibile for developing a robust City Resilience Strategy and leading its future implementation. Informality is forecasted to be a prominent theme in the Strategy.

About 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation 

100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of our cities who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a resilience strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org.

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For more information, contact:

Addis Ababa Resilience Project Office: Daniel Shitaye (daniels@resilientaddis.org; +251-911-627295)
100 Resilient Cities: Nicole Bohrer-Kaplan (NBohrer@100RC.org; +1 646-612-7177)