Making Resilience the New Normal: A Convening of Local, Regional, and Federal Leaders

Monday, June 1, 2015

Across the country, local and regional agencies are finding new ways of building resilience through their day-to-day decisions.  By applying a new lens to not only disaster recovery but also to planning, zoning, capital investment, lending, and other routine services, they are making their communities better able to withstand and bounce back from natural disasters and the impacts of climate change.

On May 19-20, the NADO Research Foundation and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), with support from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), brought federal, regional, and local leaders together for a discussion about how they can work together to achieve better resilience outcomes on the ground.  Representatives from RDOs and local governments—whose communities have all been impacted by natural disasters in the past five years—shared how their recovery experiences have changed their approaches to everyday decision-making and how they are finding creative ways to use federal resources to fortify their regions against future hazards and disruptions.  Federal partners from over a dozen agencies highlighted recent efforts to support disaster and climate resilience through new and existing policies, programs, and investments.

Participants engaged in a “gallery walk” brainstorming exercise, rapid-fire presentations on their resilience initiatives, and breakout discussions on topics ranging from data to infrastructure to rural resilience.  Additionally, they heard from thought leaders from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, EDA, National Academy of Sciences Resilient America Roundtable, the Royal Netherlands Embassy, and others, and had the opportunity to work with many of these experts to tackle specific resilience-related challenges.

By targeting communities on the forefront of resilience and fostering a broad interagency conversation that reached beyond the primary disaster recovery and preparedness players, this convening inspired new ideas for strengthening resilience and institutionalizing it as an integral objective of participants’ ongoing work.  The NADO Research Foundation plans to synthesize the outcomes of the convening and share them broadly in the near future.

Event background information, the agenda, and participant contact information are available here.