RESILIENCE ACTION FUND (INTERNATIONAL) LAUNCHED TO ADVANCE RESILIENCE IN BUILT ENVIRONMENT FROM NATURAL HAZARDS
Resilience Action Fund (International) (‘RAF-I’), a non-profit UK company, was launched today at a private London event attended by international business leaders from the finance, construction, energy, materials and other sectors.
RAF-I and Resilience Action Fund (‘RAF’), a US 501(c)3 non-profit organization established in 2015, both share the mission of advancing awareness, transparency and education for greater resilience in the built environment against natural and other hazards. The mission is closely aligned with the goals of the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction: 2015-2030, signed a year ago by 187 countries. Led by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (‘UNISDR’), this milestone agreement is referenced in the COP21 Paris Agreement, which contained the strongest ever call for climate adaptation.
Founder and Chairman, Aris Papadopoulos, is a retired construction industry CEO and long-time member of UNISDR’s private sector alliance. He presented the resilience challenge in the built environment, its underlying causes, and methods by which the organization aims to address these challenges. “Our goal is to achieve greater value differentiation between high and low resilience buildings through awareness, transparency and education. These are largely absent today, as we tend to undervalue high-resilience assets and overvalue low-resilience ones”, he stated at the event. “Forward thinking businesses will capitalize on this emerging movement with related products/services and resilience-oriented investment strategies”. Concurrently the hardcopy 2nd edition of his book ‘Resilience: The Ultimate Sustainability – Lessons from Failing to Develop a Stronger and Safer Built Environment’ was launched with RAF as publisher. It is available at www.buildingresilient.com .
Margareta Walhstrom, who recently retired as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Disaster Risk Reduction and head of UNISDR is joining the RAF-I board. At the event she noted that during 2015, international policy instruments converged and developed a common language on sustainable development, resilience and climate. “The emerging resilience movement has a broad agenda, but the built environment is a key focal point”, she stated. “Aris should be credited for introducing ‘build better from the start’ into the language of the Sendai Framework, which original only referred to ‘build back better’”. She emphasized the important role of the private sector in advancing greater resilience and further noted that regulatory bodies are looking at disaster risk disclosures and banking issues, which could impact businesses.
RAF-I and RAF are in the process of creating an endowment fund and intend to work synergistically on a program along four main axes: publications, education, research and action. A network of leading universities, public-interest entities, insurance- related organizations, grassroots action groups and product/service providers, is being assembled to collaboratively execute various segments of the program.