Based on an initiative from the Ramallah municipality to request joining membership of the International 100 Resilient Cities Network, the city of Ramallah was chosen among the first 33 cities worldwide to join this important international network, which contributes to providing the opportunity of taking advantage of various resources, including expertise, partnerships, technology, studies, and financing to support the development and implementation of a strategy that would make Ramallah more resilient and more capable of facing crises, which face its counterparts of fast-growth cities in the world, before they occur.
Ramallah – Palestine and Jbeil – Lebanon join this membership among the first cities in the network, which includes other cities: Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, New York, Bangkok, and Bristol.
This program was designed to support the objectives and visions of the member cities in the network, concerning strengthening the adaptation of cities and their preparedness to deal with disasters and challenges, including: sudden changes in climate, the spread of diseases, urban expansion, decaying infrastructure, the rapid development in means of communication and information technology, natural disasters , wars, conflicts, social and psychological difficulties, rising poverty, and others. The Rockefeller Foundation in the United States is supporting this network together with several relevant international institutions.
The particularity of the city of Ramallah is considered one of the most important factors that contributed to it joining this network. These include the unstable political situation, economic crises facing the city due to its location in an economically and politically unstable region as a result of the occupation, the new technology that casts its shadow on the daily life of citizens, in addition to climate change, which the city has recently felt as climate change transpired in the Mediterranean region. From the "100 Resilient Cities” project, the city of Ramallah will garner the benefit of the opportunity to access financial funding that would help Ramallah withstand challenges and disasters, as well as networking with other cities’ networks to exchange expertise and information, and provision of technical, technological, and administrative support. Member cities of the network will have to ensure the activation of and partnership with both the governmental and non-governmental sectors in all development sectors, to commit to participating actively in all programs and workshops organized by the network for member cities, and to develop and implement a strategic plan in partnership with the relevant authorities in the city, with the aim of learning and developing the expertise of its staff and institutions and acquiring new tools and skills to help it adapt and cope with disasters.
To become a resilient city in accordance with the Rockefeller Foundation’s standards, Ramallah requires a specialized team that would activate all governmental, private, and civil society institutions’ roles, and would provide alternative sources that can be used immediately upon the occurrence of any disasters, in addition to an information system that helps predict the occurrence of shocks and disasters, and a rapid and effective early response communication system for disasters. Additionally, a system of effective governance and leadership needs to be provided, which would adopt modern proofs and technologies, and uses a monitoring and evaluation system in developing the performance of its institutions and community participation in dealing with the challenges facing the city.
"Resilience" signifies “the capacity of systems, entities, communities, or individuals, to withstand shocks, while still being able to maintain core functions and to recover rapidly and effectively."
The need in the city of Ramallah for building a resilient city that is capable, in advance, to deal with the challenges, is due to the rise in natural and humanitarian disasters, such as earthquakes and climate changes, the absence of a strategy for dealing with such challenges, and the shortage and deficiency in systems that predict the occurrence of disasters. Add to this the rapid change in population distribution, the trend towards urbanization, and the migration from the countryside to the city.
It is worth noting that the Ramallah Municipality has made great strides in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and zip codes, and has been the leader in launching such a system among Palestinian cities. It has also launched several applications successfully, such as the tourism map on its website: www.gis-ramallah.ps, and has been distinctive in the implementation of the naming and numbering project, which facilitates access to streets according to their official Ramallah Municipality names. These are some of the factors that contribute to facilitating the city of Ramallah’s task, with the efforts of its municipality, to join the membership of the network.