An Open Letter to Our Partners

It has been another significant year for resilience building thanks to all the hard work from our Partners

Written by: Nathanial Matthews

Dear Partners in Resilience,

Thank you for another eventful year of working together to surface and scale innovations, share and advance knowledge, and influence policy towards a more resilient future. The pandemic and increasing climate shocks and stresses have further catapulted resilience into the global lexicon. At COP26, for example, we saw unprecedented private sector leadership on resilience investments, setting up of a two-year Glasgow-Sharm el-Sheikh work programme on a global goal for adaptation and setting a target to balance adaptation and mitigation financing by 2025. With this increased attention, it is more critical than ever that we develop robust measurement, evaluation and learning tools, push for more locally led adaption and resilience investments, share the best knowledge and practice on successes and failures, and, as a global community, ensure that the commitments made are followed with urgent action.

Below, we highlight some of our joint accomplishments that are only possible thanks to the combined efforts of our Partnership.

Providing a safe space to innovate, test and rapidly scale

As co-host of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, GRP worked with AXA XL and Ocean Unite to launch six projects to build coastal resilience and reduce ocean risk in vulnerable countries. Through the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge (ORIC), four winning applications were mentored for seven months, and have participated in a Leadership Academy. ORRAA has published a trio of reports by SRC and GRP highlighting the Gender dynamics of ocean risk in SIDS and LDCs and  the risk landscape facing the ocean economy more broadly. Additional exciting results are emerging as I write this. A new ORIC challenge was launched during the Paris Peace Forum in November this year with support from the SwissRe Foundation with an aim to surface more innovative financial tools to build coastal resilience. Critically, ORRAA has received generous new funding commitments from the UK and Canadian Government that will position it for further impact and influence in 2022 and beyond.

Together with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), we launched a call for Expressions of Interest to scale and support innovative finance mechanisms to build resilience in conflict prone and fragile regions. Two organisation, one in Sudan and one in Uganda, have been shortlisted for final endorsement by GEF. The three-year support will include grants to the tune of $200,000- $300,000, as well as mentoring and capacity building support for the organisations. We are also working with UNDP, ICCCAD, the Adaptation Fund, the European Union, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and Climate-KIC as part of the Steering Committee of the $20M Adaptation Innovation Marketplace.

At COP26, we launched the Innovating for Climate Resilience Fund in partnership with the Global Innovation Fund and the Adaptation Research Alliance. The fund has seed funding from UK’s Foreign Commonwealth, and Development Office. Through the fund, we will invest in innovations that aim to support people living on less than $5 per day to build resilience and adaptation to shocks and stresses.

Promoting shared learning and capacity development

GRP co-created the Resilience Knowledge Coalition (the coalition), together with co-leads International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and Climate Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). The coalition aims “to get the best knowledge and practice on resilience used to shape, polices, plans and investments to deliver a resilient future,” through three areas of activity which enable collaboration, connection and application. The coalition currently has almost 500 members representing over 150 institutions and is a transformation partner of the Race to Resilience.

We continued to expand the Resilience platform to become a “go-to” on-line space to capture, access, co-create and advance the latest resilience knowledge, lessons and solutions including through dynamic linking with other platforms and an exciting new design that will be launched in early 2022.

Together with UN Officer for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), we created an exciting content series that explores how to foster resilience on the ground to move from risk to resilience. The series includes a video explainer, blogs, a photo essay, and an infographic on drought resilience.   

GRP kicked off the Global South Talent Pool, an internship programme for graduates and young experts from the majority world, in June 2021. The programme includes capacity building, experience exchange, and support for the graduates and young experts. They have made important contributions to GRP and our Partners already and we know they will go on to be future resilient leaders.

Convening diverse voices

Together with Partners and with strong support from the High-Level Champions, COP26 unit, the Cabinet Office and dozens of private sector partners, we co-lead the establishment of the Resilience Hub, a physical and virtual space running for the full two weeks of COP26. The Hub was a great success, attracting almost 20,000 virtual and physical participants. Read more about the Hub and its work in the synthesis report.

We also supported the implementation of the Voices from the Frontline initiative led by ICCCAD and CDKN, which documents the challenges and solutions emerging from community-led responses to the COVID-19 crisis and lessons for building resilience. The Voices for the Frontline digibook was launched at COP26. It provides a synthesise of the Voices from the Frontline stories, and looks what communities have done to retain hard-won development in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis and other multiple shocks.

In 2021, GRP, ICCCAD and the Climate Justice Resilience Fund launched the pilot of the catalytic grants to encourage continuity between events and promote locally-led adaptation. Currently, eight teams are being supported with grants and capacity exchange opportunities.

Advancing collective understanding and knowledge of resilience

In Southern Africa, South Asia and the Caribbean, we launched three South to South Resilience Academies (S2SRA’s). These academies are a series of collaborations that aim to amplify, leverage and coordinate leadership and expertise in Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries.

The first one – the Climate Resilience Academy for LDCs (CRAL) – is coordinated by ICCCAD and is approaching its final phase of knowledge product generation (e.g., policy briefs, academic papers, blogposts, opinion pieces) and dissemination. The second – the Southern African Resilience Academy (SARA) led by the Centre for Sustainability Transitions (CST) – ran multiple workshops with its academy cohort on the theme “The future of food in Southern Africa” and had strong connections to the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021. The third academy will begin in 2022 and will be coordinate by the University of West Indies and will focus on climate change and health in vulnerable demographics.

The Seeds of Resilience for Peace and Stability project successfully collected and analysed a growing set of pilot resilience-building initiatives, referred to as Seeds (including initiatives from Sudan, Mali and Bangladesh). The Seeds are currently being curated in a database and analysed, together with Partners to highlight the key features and resilience attributes of these initiatives.

Despite all the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, this has been an exceptional year for catalysing action and investment into resilience. I am immensely proud of the fantastic work of our Partners and the Secretariat in reaching many new heights and contributing to our shared goal of a world where people and places are able to persist, adapt and transform in the face of shocks, uncertainty, and change.

Thank you for your continued support and participation. Together, we are stronger than the sum of our parts and we will continue to work hard to build a more resilient future.

Wishing you all a happy holiday!



Portrait of Nate Matthews

Nathanial Matthews

CEO, Global Resilience Partnership