Mayor Mitch Landrieu joined by Presidents of 100 Resilient Cities and the Rockefeller Foundation appoints Jeff Hebert as New Orleans' First Chief Resilience Officer
6 Nov 2014
NEW ORLEANS – Today, during the first annual Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) Summit, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Judith Rodin, and 100 Resilient Cities President Michael Berkowitz announced the appointment of Jeff Hebert as the City’s Chief Resilience Officer (CRO). The announcement was made during the multi-day New Orleans convening of CROs from approximately 25 cities around the world, coming together to learn about resilience; to share resilience challenges and best practices from their cities; and to learn about best-in-class resilience building tools from the private, public, academic and NGO sectors.
“The Rockefeller Foundation’s investment will allow New Orleans to develop and lead a comprehensive approach to our resilience building efforts. As a part of 100 Resilient Cities, New Orleans showcases our ability to successfully rebound and thrive after disasters, and we have the opportunity to learn from others around the world,” said Mayor Landrieu. “Now we will have a proven leader in place to lead citywide resilience building efforts and to help New Orleans prepare for, withstand and bounce back from catastrophic events and chronic stresses.”
Mayor Landrieu has designated the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), where Hebert serves as Executive Director, as the implementation agency for the city’s participation in the 100 Resilient Cities Initiative. NORA has been leading resilience initiatives in sustainable development, neighborhood reinvestment, and the creative reuse of land for storm-water management. In his dual role as CRO and Executive Director, Hebert will oversee the development and implementation of a resilience plan for the city. For New Orleans, the challenges include, but are not limited to, rising sea levels, strategies for flood mitigation and protection, including coastal restoration projects and improvements in emergency response planning, as well as ensuring new and existing structures and developments are able to withstand a variety of weather related events.
“In a rapidly urbanizing world, cities cannot afford to remain crisis-driven and reactive,” said Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. “Cities like New Orleans are at the forefront of fostering a resilience mindset that will be critical to proactively managing the inevitable challenges, shocks and stresses all cities will face.”
“Jeff is smart, dedicated and thoughtful, and I have no doubt that New Orleans will benefit enormously from his work as the Chief Resilience Officer,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “Through Jeff, New Orleans will be able to learn from cities around the world, as well as teach them. Jeff will serve as leading thinker on resilience, allowing the world to benefit from the cities resilience success and learnings.”
Appointing a CRO is an essential element of New Orleans’ resilience building partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. The 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) organization is part of a $100M+ commitment by the Rockefeller Foundation to build urban resilience in 100 cities around the world. New Orleans’ engagement with 100 Resilient Cities kicked off in February with the Resilience Agenda Workshop, and under Hebert’s leadership, the city is poised to take the next step in its resilience planning. The work will be fully funded by 100RC.
Under Hebert’s direction, the City will undertake a 6-9 month effort to develop a roadmap to resilience for New Orleans by bringing together stakeholders from across silos of government and sectors of society. 100RC will provide Herbert and his team with personnel and technical support; and utilize resilience building tools from private, public, and NGO sector organizations that have partnered with 100RC.
The CRO is an innovative feature of 100RC’s resilience building program, specifically designed to break down existing cross sector and departmental barriers, account for pre-existing resilience plans, and create partnerships, alliances and financing mechanisms that will address the resilience vulnerabilities of all city residents, with a particular focus on low-income and vulnerable populations.