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Urban Resilience in the GFDRR Portfolio

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The importance of strengthening the resilience of cities is more critical than ever, as unprecedented urbanization is transforming the planet and the way we live. The international development community has a unique window of opportunity to make cities and the urban poor more resilient. Sustainable Development Goal No. 11 calls on the world to “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.” COP 21 highlighted the key role that urban areas play, not only in mitigating emissions but also in adapting to a changing climate. The UN-Habitat III Conference in October 2016 in Quito, Ecuador also underscored the importance of resilience for the socio-economic and spatial development of cities and the well-being of their citizens, especially the urban poor.

The Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) is a major supporter of urban resilience globally, through the provision and funding of technical assistance, research and analytics, knowledge management, and partnership building. GFDRR provides urban resilience-related technical and financial support across all regions served by the World Bank Group and has been able to inform lending operations, provide policy guidance, and leverage financing for urban resilience programs from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) resources.

GFDRR conducted a comprehensive review of its urban resilience grant portfolio from FY10-FY20 to systematically identify and analyze urban resilience grants. Since 2010, GFDRR has funded close to $200 million in grant resources (or 24% of total amount of its FY10-20 grant financing), leveraging over US$12.7 billion in lending. This funding includes resources provided by the City Resilience Program (CRP), a partnership between GFDRR and the World Bank which helps cities mobilize private capital for resilience, drawing upon technical assistance, including rapid capital assessments, financial advisory services, and access to experts from the private sector.

The analysis categorizes grants by resilience type, showcasing trends over the years to gain a deeper understanding of which sources of GFDRR funding have been accessed and assess how these grants contribute to urban resilience. This brief note provides a snapshot of the findings of the review and highlights select GFDRR engagements which are illustrative of the Facility’s work in urban resilience.