The appointment of a Chief Resilience Officer is an essential step towards Accra’s resilience-building effort and its partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation.
The 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) organization is part of a $164m commitment by The Rockefeller Foundation to build urban resilience in 100 cities around the world. Accra’s engagement with 100 Resilient Cities kicked off in 2014 with a “Resilience Agenda-Setting Workshop.”
As Chief Resilience Officer, Mr. Appiah will play a leading role in city-wide resilience-building efforts to help the city prepare for, withstand, and bounce back from the ‘shocks’ – catastrophic events like fires, floods, and disease outbreak – and ‘stresses’ – slow-moving disasters like environmental degradation, ageing infrastructure, and unemployment, which are increasingly part of 21st century life.
Mr. Appiah is the second person to hold the Chief Resilience Officer position in Accra, and will be working to continue the progress made by his predecessor.
Speaking about Mr. Appiah’s appointment, Accra Mayor Mohammed Adjei Sowah said, “Desmond has broad experience working across the West African sub-region, as well as in Europe and the United States, in the design and implementation of systems that support long-term sustainable development goals. We are pleased to welcome him on board to lead the development of Accra’s Resilience Strategy.”
As Chief Resilience Officer, Mr. Appiah will report directly to Mayor Sowah and shall oversee the development and implementation of a comprehensive Resilience Strategy for the city. The position will be fully funded by 100RC.
Commenting on his new role, Mr. Appiah said, “The challenges faced by a rapidly growing city like Accra are many and multifaceted. Developing and implementing strategies that ensure an appreciation of integrated approaches or linkages and interdependencies in the planning process, will determine the way cities like Accra can become resilient through harnessing the opportunities that such growth can present in the immediate as well as the longer term.”
The CRO is an innovative feature of 100RC’s resilience building program, specifically designed to break down existing barriers at the local level, account for pre-existing resilience plans, and create partnerships, alliances and financing mechanisms that will address the resilience vulnerabilities of all city residents, with a particular focus on low-income and vulnerable populations. Mr. Appiah will receive personal and technical support provided by 100RC; and utilize resilience-building tools from private, public, academic, and NGO sector organizations that have partnered with 100RC.
“Desmond Appiah joins a network of peers from cities across the globe that will share best practices and surface innovative thinking,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “Accra will become a global leader in resilience, and he will be an asset for Accra and other cities around the world.”
Responding to these opportunities and challenges, the city’s resilience initiative looks at urban planning, innovative financing schemes, communication technology, and trans-regional development to address issues as far-reaching as environmental degradation, public health, affordable housing, unemployment, road safety and establishing the nexus between these parameters. Mr. Appiah will be charged with fostering a citywide dialogue that ultimately cultivates a holistic view of resilience.