A safe and secure living environment is ultimately about improving the quality of people’s lives and of systems, as cities, business and infrastructure become ever-more complex. We believe that the Smart Places of the future require a shift from a mindset of response and protection to Resilience. A holistic vision is needed to plan for future development.


As part of this cross-sectoral conversation, we have invited public and private sector leaders and frontrunners to share their perspectives and experiences of the challenges and opportunities facing the water sector and, in particular, their vision of what resilience to climate change, extreme weather and natural hazards could be.

In Conversation with Leaders Our Insights and Inspiration



According to the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2020, four environmental risks dominate the top 5 global risks in terms of likelihood and impact – climate action failure; extreme weather events; water crises; and natural disasters.

People and their assets are more densely concentrated in urban environments, which now operate 24/7/365 – making society much more vulnerable to climate-related disruption than in the past. Extreme weather events and natural disasters impact severely on people in terms of loss of lives, health and wellbeing, and the temporary or permanent loss of homes and livelihoods. In addition to environmental and ecological damage, the wider societal and economic impacts include disruptions to critical infrastructure networks such as energy, water supply and storm water systems; disruptions to transport networks and mobility; disruptions to business assets and processes such as supply chain and distribution networks; and increased climate change investment risk.

The Real Impacts of Water and Climate Change Risks

From Protection to Risk Reduction to Resilience      

6 insights on enhancing resilience in cities


In the past, sector-specific solutions have focused on protecting assets and infrastructure, and on reducing risks. Today, the focus is on creating resilient strategies and systems for communities, properties, businesses and infrastructure across sectors – by adapting and transforming both structural and non-structural (organisational) measures within a particular regional context; and involving all stakeholders and local communities. 

Our goal is to help industries, critical infrastructure owners, and the financial sector to reduce the impact of extreme weather, natural disasters and climate change before events occur – in order to secure reliability and predictability of delivery and operations, ensure the efficient and uninterrupted operations of assets, potentially reduce the costs of insurance and loans, and enable informed investment decision making.


“In addressing climate-related risks, I see the trend moving from Protection to Risk Reduction to Resilience, where Resilience combines hard infrastructure with adaptation as well as organsational measures, disaster management and early warning systems 

Lisette Heuer: Global Director Resilience at Royal HaskoningDHV


Today, businesses and industries have complex supply chains and distribution channels spanning continents, all based on just-in-time delivery. Critical infrastructure networks are expanding and becoming more complex and are subject to tighter regulations. Delay or fall out of this infrastructure has an immediate impact on delivery processes and, hence, on an organisation’s bottom line. 

Resilience of critical infrastructure – such as ports, airports, energy, water and transport networks – leverages 24/7 operational business continuity; and is determined by measures that respond to both global and local contexts. We work with critical infrastructure operators to design physical assets and processes; conduct climate change impact assessments; and develop actionable insights and intervention options through digital services covering risk and impact mapping, monitoring, forecasting and alerting – to enable better resilience to climate-related hazards. 



The production networks, supply chains and distribution channels of multinationals traverse many countries in the world. Due to the global nature of these networks, any local disruption of infrastructure will lead to global disruption of supply and delivery of goods. Disrupted processes and practices can also lead to unsafe working conditions, dissatisfied customers, loss of market share and income, damage to brand reputation, production stops, supply chain delays, damaged goods, contractual claims, and loss of jobs.

Harnessing the power of digital expertise and services supports business continuity by enabling the mitigation of risks and reduction of climate impacts to businesses’ operational processes and practices. This includes predictive analysis, forecasting, early warning and alerting to increase water and climate resilience.



The disruption or fall out of critical infrastructure, transport and mobility networks affects business continuity – with disrupted processes and practices having a significant impact on the profit and loss of businesses’ outputs, assets and cargo. Climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction therefore impact directly on the portfolios of insurers and reinsurers, banks and investors.

Climate change risk insurance is not a stand-alone solution and understanding complex information is key to making informed decisions on planning and optimising portfolios. We work to ensure that our clients benefit from the considerable opportunities that new technologies in the field of data science and natural hazard modelling and forecasting can provide in relation to climate resilience, loss reduction, climate change investment risk, and technical risk pricing – to ensure that climate-related losses and damages are kept to a minimum.

RESILIENCE is “the capacity of social, economic and environmental systems to cope with a hazardous event or trend or disturbance, responding or reorganizing in ways that maintain their essential function, identity and structure while also maintaining the capacity for adaptation, learning and transformation 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


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