Da Nang named among world’s 100 resilient cities

The Vietnamese coastal city of Da Nang is in the first group of 33 cities selected by The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge, the foundation announced Tuesday.

The 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge is an event to mark the foundation’s 100th birthday, on May 14, 2013.

The program has since received “enormous response,” with more than 1,000 registrations and nearly 400 formal applications from cities around the world, the foundation stated on its website.

Along with Da Nang, three other Southeast Asian cities were selected to be in the first 33-city group: Bangkok (Thailand), Mandalay (Myanmar), and Semarang (Indonesia).

The Vietnamese coastal city is described as “a rapidly growing transportation, services, and tourism hub in central Vietnam.”

“This city is doing its best to stay dry in the midst of rivers, an encroaching coastline, and increasingly severe typhoons,” The Rockefeller Foundation wrote on its website.

Even though Da Nang is “no stranger to flooding,” with typhoons battering the city and variable rainfall causing both drought and flooding along the riverbanks, the city has been developing innovative models for years “to enhance resilience to climate change, including early flood warning systems and improved urban planning.”

Meanwhile, as the poor and struggling households of the city face unstable employment, insufficient access to health care, education and other services, the municipal has pledged to continue to improve its citizens’ quality of life over the next six years.

The underprivileged are especially at risk of typhoons and other flooding because they are dependent on fishing boats, crops, and simple equipment, which is easily damaged or destroyed by natural disasters.

In order to be selected, according to Rockefeller Foundation, each city was asked to present a clear and compelling description of how they are approaching and planning for resilience to decrease vulnerabilities.

The first set of 33 cities was recommended for the 100 Resilient Cities Network by a panel of esteemed judges, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Olosegun Obasanjo, following a careful review of the applications, it said.

The organizers said cities selected for the Network will receive four kinds of support.

They will be supported to hire and empower a Chief Resilience Officer, a central point of contact within each city to coordinate and oversee resilience activities, coordinate stakeholders, and ensure resilience is a city-wide priority.

The Chief Resilience Officer will also be assisted to develop a resilience plan, which will take stock of existing efforts, identify priority areas of need, conduct analysis to understand interconnected risks and opportunities, and develop a clear and actionable set of priorities and initiatives.

The city will be able to access a platform of services to support the implementation of such a strategy, which may include solutions to spur investments and financing for resilient infrastructure, information technology tools, and policy models for resilience-enabling laws and regulations.

The final support is a larger connection to other Network members, to share what works, spotlight success, and advance both global and regional dialogues on urban resilience.