Reflections on 2020: The Global Resilience Partnership

Highlights of GRP’s accomplishments that are only possible thanks to our Partners’ combined efforts.

GRP Areas of work: Innovation Knowledge Policy

Dear Partners in Resilience,

I would like to express my thanks to all of you for your herculean efforts this challenging year to build resilience for the most vulnerable in the face of shocks and stresses. The pandemic has provided a stark reminder that we are living in a world with increasing uncertainty and turbulence. It has exposed the vulnerability of our global, interconnected society to systemic risks, and it has shown that many of the gains we have made are fragile to shocks and stresses.

The pandemic has also reaffirmed the importance of resilience. We know that it is neither desirable nor sufficient for many to just recover from these shocks only to be susceptible to future ones. The millions of people who have been forced from poverty into extreme poverty because of the pandemic do not want to return to where they were pre-pandemic. A critical part of Resilience building is about transforming in the face of crises and taking new development pathways away from the threats that we are facing. 

While this year has certainly not been the year we hoped for or expected, much has been accomplished in building a resilient future. Below, I highlight some of the GRP’s accomplishments that are only possible thanks to our combined efforts. As a partnership, we truly are more than the sum of our parts.

Convening Diverse Voices
GRP is proud to have supported the UNFCCC High Level Climate Champions, Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz, in running the Regional Resilience Dialogues to elevate community voices into the Race to Zero Dialogues. In the Race to Zero Dialogues, 100 partners delivered 89 sessions with over 350 speakers from nearly 65 countries. Across those sessions, 30 were focused on resilience and adaptation.

These dialogues and support to the Champions paved the way for the new Race to Resilience (R2R) campaign that was announced during the Climate Ambition Summit. This Race has the ambitious goal to catalyse action by non-state actors that builds the resilience of 4 billion people from vulnerable groups and communities to climate risks by 2030. The full launch of R2R will be at the Climate Adaptation Summit on 25 January 2021. And we invite all partners to engage in this ambitious Race. Together we can build a resilient future where both nature and people thrive.   

Promoting shared learning and capacity development
GRP has been co-creating and supporting the Resilience Knowledge Coalition, together with co-leads ICCCAD/LUCCC and SSN/CDKN. The purpose of this coalition is to catalyse the best knowledge and practice on resilience to shape policies, plans and investments. The coalition will deliver this through three core functions with specific objectives: (i) Peer-to-peer learning; (ii) Shaping policy and investment; and (iii) Measurement and evidence. If you are interested in joining the coalition, please sign up here.

GRP is also supporting the implementation of the Voices from the Frontline initiative led by ICCCAD and CDKN. The initiative supports a coalition of grassroots organisations and knowledge partners to document the challenges and solutions emerging from community-led responses to the COVID-19 crisis and lessons for building resilience. Over 25 stories have been documented to date from across the Global South. The full stories are available on ICCCAD’s Voices from the Frontline pageCDKN’s website, and on the Resilience Platform.

Advancing collective understanding and knowledge of resilience
GRP, together with ICCCAD, launched the first South to South Resilience Academy (S2SRA). This S2SRA will initially focus on generating knowledge, policy advocacy and communication materials for further strengthening community resilience responses in the face of COVID-19. Additional academies are planned throughout 2021 and beyond.

GRP has also been working with multiple partners to understand how positive resilience initiatives (‘seeds’ or ‘bright spots’) can contribute to resilience for peace & stability in conflict-prone areas – like Sudan and Mali – and trigger positive transformative pathways.

Providing a safe space to innovate, test and rapidly scale

As co-host of the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, GRP has been working with AXA XL and Ocean Unite to launch six projects to build coastal resilience and reduce ocean risk in vulnerable countries. ORRAA also launched the Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge that is surfacing innovative and scalable finance and insurance products that drive investment in coastal natural capital and increase resilience while delivering a return on investment. 

GRP has launched, with GEF and UNDP, a call for Expressions of Interest to scale and support innovative finance mechanisms to build resilience in conflict prone and fragile regions. This is part of a program of support that will identify and nurture a pipeline of novel, viable and fundable financial mechanisms working at the intersection of disaster risk reduction, water and food security and peace and stability.

As 2020 draws to a close, we look to a brighter 2021. We know that many challenges remain ahead of us, but together we are stronger. I remain hopeful and optimistic for our future.

Wishing you all a happy holiday!



Dr. Nathanial Matthews
CEO, Global Resilience Partnership