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Building resilience through our Fortitude Initiative

We enable cities, towns and municipalities to co-produce and implement disaster risk reduction strategies at the local level.

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Building resilience through our Fortitude Initiative

Years active:

2019 - present

Related ICLEI Pathway(s)


Coastal cities in Africa

Project summary

The increased frequency of climate-related disasters severely affects local communities. In response, the Fortitude Initiative supports municipal regions by reducing disaster risks and strengthening climate change resilience through proactive planning. Five building blocks define our initiative:

Advocacy: we work alongside local governments, who play an essential role in translating policies into action, to advocate for international involvement to find innovative solutions to local challenges.

Technical support: we assist local governments to develop risk and vulnerability assessments and climate change adaptation plans consider mandate and finance considerations to ensure their implementation.

Finance: we empower subnational governments to access resources from the public and private sector, on local and international level.

Networking: we believe multilevel governance can solve interconnected challenges and enable engagement between local governments, allowing for context-relevant solutions to emerge.

Implementation: we assist governments in mainstreaming disaster risk management by strengthening mechanisms and developing infrastructure to enable implementation.

Project aims

We implement disaster risk strategies at the local level by connecting regions and different levels of government in a single region through multilevel governance. We aim to translate collective, concrete solutions into action through the collaborative support from governments, partners and funders:

  • Governments indicate their needs and request context-specific assistance through the Fortitude Initiative¬†
  • Partners pledge existing resources to further disaster risk reduction on the continent
  • Funders¬† make a proactive contribution to disaster risk management on the local level by mobilising resources and effecting transformational change

Our strong cooperation with ICLEI has taken on a new urgency, following the tragic losses caused by Cylone Idai. We will continue to work with ICLEI Africa, to support local action to reduce risk and disaster losses. Sustainable development in southern Africa has suffered a terrible reverse over these last two weeks. We need to do all in our power to support adaptation to climate change and to build back resilient infrastructure to a standard required to face the new reality of extreme weather events.
- Mr. Amjad Abbashar, Regional Director, UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Regional Office for Africa

Project highlights

ICLEI Africa launches the Fortitude Initiative at Resilient Cities 2019 in Bonn, Germany, following the devastating effects Cyclone Idai left in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in April 2019.

We continuously support affected cities and towns to build back better after Cyclone Idai, implementing innovative solutions that improve response to disasters in the future, while working towards the achievement of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.

Together with UNDRR, we hosted the first Fortitude Initiative meeting in Cape Town, bringing together 7 cities from 6 countries focussing on building resilience at the local level.

Building resilience through our Fortitude Initiative