Okapi is collaborated with Resilient Chennai and 100 Resilient Cities by Rockefeller Foundation, to develop Chennai's Resilient Strategy.
In 2014, Chennai was selected as one of the second cohort of cities for the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) program. Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation, the 100RC program “…help(s) cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.”
Chennai’s partnership with 100RC has led to the development of a ‘Resilience Strategy’ for the city. The strategy offers pathways for city leaders from government, civic and industrial sectors to collaborate and guide their organizations to ensure future resilience of Chennai citizens and infrastructure, both natural and man-made, to key shocks and stresses.
The 100RC project was launched in the city with an ‘Agenda Setting Workshop (ASW)’ in July 2015. The Greater Chennai Corporation, in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities, appointed a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) for the city in 2017. During phase I of the project, the CRO and his team engaged a broad range of stakeholders from civil society, industries, academia, and government agencies through multiple means (e.g. citizen surveys, expert interviews, working groups etc.) to develop the Preliminary Assessment Report (PRA). This document provided an overview of learning’s from Phase I and highlighted priority areas (known as ‘discovery areas’) for further investigation during Phase II which were - ‘Water Systems, Metro Governance, Civic Engagement, Vulnerable and Low- Income Groups, Healthy and Planned Urbanization and Finance Urban Resilience’.
Okapi’s collaboration with 100RC and Resilient Chennai commenced in Phase II – July 2018 – to develop the strategy. ‘Working Group’ members and leads for each discovery area (DA) were identified to initiate Phase II and develop detailed DA reports. These reports presented results from extensive secondary research, expert interviews, citizen surveys and working group workshops and laid the foundation for developing the Chennai City Resilience Strategy. In addition, an Opportunity Assessment Tool (OAT), a 100 RC tool, was used to assess and prioritise resilience building actions, based on multiple criteria (e.g. ability to address multiple shocks and stresses, linkage to local/national/international policies, funding availability, timeframe for implementation etc.).
The Resilient Strategy is driven by a collectively-defined vision to make Chennai enlightened, just and integrated through five missions, 17 associated goals, and 86 interventions. The strategy is ultimately a reflection of opinions and insights of Chennai citizens, technical experts, civic leaders, and government officials and is meant to inspire city’s leaders and common citizens to act more responsibly to build city’s inner-strength to withstand major disasters as well as reduce the impact of chronic stresses.