If the role of Chief Resilience Officer is not an occupation you’ve heard of before, there’s good reason. It has never existed in official capacity – until now. The brainchild of the Rockefeller Foundation, the global implementation of CROs is a step towards future proofing 100 cities across the globe; making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events and help city dwellers bounce back faster when the unexpected happens.
The cost of urban disasters was over $380 billion in 2011 alone, and many of our cities remain ill-prepared to unprecedented forces of nature. The city of Tacloban in the Philippines is still without electricity following Typhoon Haiyan last year and in the 18 months since Superstorm Sandy hit the U.S. East Coast, thousands of residents say they are unable to return to their homes.
So what does a CRO do? Break down silos that prevent communication, creativity and innovation. They’re the link that keeps everyone on the same page, covering every angle, delivering creative solutions that work. In times of disaster, a city’s CRO will be the most important connector. You can’t ask for a more exciting challenge than that.
Bangkok, Christchurch, New York and Rio de Janeiro have already been chosen as the first cities to receive their own CROs. I expect the winning candidates to be among the most inspirational leaders we have. Do-ers unafraid to take charge and take risks. Every city needs the right person in the right place.