The City Resilience Program (CRP) is a partnership between the World Bank and GFDRR. Launched in June 2017 as a multi-donor initiative aimed at increasing financing for urban resilience, the Program is supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance.

CRP’s vision is resilient cities with the capacity to plan for and mitigate adverse impacts of disasters and climate change, thus enabling them to save lives, reduce losses, and unlock economic and social potential. The aim of the program is to catalyze a shift toward longer term, more comprehensive multi-disciplinary packages of technical and financial services, building the pipeline for viable projects at the city level that, in turn, build resilience.

CRP pursues three strategic objectives to move toward this vision:

  1. Cities have increased access to tools and technical support to effectively plan for resilience.
  2. Cities have increased access to multiple sources of financing to ensure that more investment in resilience come to fruition.
  3. Cities can leverage global partnerships to support their resilience objectives.


CRP supports cities across three main thematic areas: Planning for Resilience focuses on providing technical support to ensure that capital investment plans are risk informed. Finance for Resilience zeros in on capital mobilization around urban resilience. Partnership for Resilience concentrates on advocacy and convening global expertise. Together, these three thematic areas are key to helping cities address the resilience challenges of the future.


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Strategic Objectives

Planning for resilience

Cities face a multitude of challenges that are inherently multidisciplinary, complex and interdependent in nature. The impact of climate and disaster risks must be addressed through a multi-sectoral lens to manage these challenges and support resilient urban development effectively. CRP’s approach represents an effort to undertake a fundamental shift in supporting cities tackle pressing development challenges CRP pursues an integrated and spatially informed approach that captures the interplay between the natural and built environments instead of dwelling on sectoral priorities.

CRP develops and applies geospatial tools, case studies, and knowledge products as a starting point for engaging with cities on resilience planning that serve to strengthen the analytical foundation of resilience-informed investment planning, and expand the suite of tools available to cities. This process is taken further through a workshop series on resilience planning, where participating cities benefit from a diverse range of technical expertise to help package, prioritize and design resilience-enhancing investments anchored on World Bank Group (WBG) operations. CRP supports the incubation of applied technical knowledge to city challenges, and works to develop competitive market relations that ensure that cities can receive quick and high-quality technical support when needed.

As a starting point for engaging with cities on resilience planning, the CRP has developed the City Scan, which combines large amounts of spatial and socio-economic information pertinent to city-level decision-makers to inform initial dialogue around urban resilience challenges. The City Scan enables cities, World Bank teams, and development partners to engage in preliminary dialogue about natural hazards and disaster risks in key sectors and geographic areas which need to be addressed through coordinated investment.

In Focus: CRP Supporting Urban Heat Analysis

At the start of FY20, CRP, in partnership with GFDRR, developed a new digital technology product for understanding urban heat islands, which emerged as a key hazard in the Saudi Arabia Reimbursable Advisory Service. CRP supported the creation of an urban heat analysis initially applied in the Saudi Arabia city scans. The tool uses open-source satellite data that measures surface temperatures from 2013 to 2019, highlighting areas that are particularly hot or especially cold. The new feature can also show periodic temperature changes and illustrates how urban heat islands fluctuate from one season to the next.


Figure: Scans of urban heat islands in Saudi Arabia
Hexagons (depicted in gray) represent areas that exhibit the highest values using the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) (top two images) and the normalized difference built-up index (NDBI) (bottom two images) in the summer (an average value above 0.115 and 0.043, respectively) and winter (an average value above 0.136 and 0.049, respectively), 2019. Units are in degrees Celsius (°C).



Niels Holm-Nielsen
Global Lead, Resilience/DRM, World Bank
Manuela Chiapparino
Senior Operations Officer, GFDRR
Finance for resilience

The global infrastructure deficit is well documented and nowhere more acute than in the rapidly urbanizing poorer countries in Africa and Asia. Acting alone, governments often struggle to develop a pipeline of high-quality projects that can attract private sector involvement. Though government funding and capacity in many countries are constrained, with appropriate support an opportunity may surface for governments to involve private sector partners to help deliver, maintain, and finance part of this gap. A shortage of attractive investment opportunities in all areas of urban infrastructure blights many lower-income countries, particularly those that respond to the pressures of rapid urbanization and climate change.

CRP embraces the provision of upstream operational and technical support pivoted on mobilizing public and private financing around a broader resilience agenda. CRP employs a three-phased engagement process to mobilize financing: 1) upstream general legal and capacity analysis related to project financing in a specific city, and strategic guidance to project teams on potential areas for expanded financing for urban resilience projects in the city; 2) financial and regulatory analysis related to a specific project concept; and, 3) specific transaction advisory and financing services.

Services provided concentrate on connecting cities with financial advisory services, whether from individual specialists or firms, that can help authorities understand the potential to attract private sector participation to WBG-supported investments. Jointly with WBG task teams and city counterparts, the financial advisory services explore the viability concessions, public-private partnerships (PPPs), and land value capture (LVC) mechanisms as potential financing and funding components, and how these could be structured into the overall project’s delivery.

In Focus: Supporting Project Preparation in Peru and Bolivia


La Paz, Bolivia


Funding from CRP was instrumental in supporting project preparation of the National Urban Cadaster and Municipal Support Project in Peru (US$50 million) and the Urban Resilience Project in Bolivia (US$70 million), which were approved by the World Bank’s Board of Directors in January and February, 2020, respectively.

In Peru, the National Cadaster and Municipal Support Project will strengthen urban cadasters in 22 municipalities located in four provinces (Lima, Chiclayo, Lambayeque and Piura) and improve local government capacities for revenue generation and urban management, including hazard risk management. CRP funding helped review gaps in local property tax revenue and assessed hazard risks in the municipality of Brena. It also supported a review of national policies on land use planning and disaster risk management in urban areas.

The Bolivia Urban Resilience project finances investments in infrastructure upgrading and urban resilience works in the municipalities of La Paz and Santa Cruz. CRP funding supported analysis of the integration of hazard risk into project design, as well as potential for land value capture in areas where resilient public space was envisaged for financing. In both countries, SECO/SDC are in the process of finalizing credit proposals to fund complementary technical assistance efforts in urban resilience and municipal management. 

Niels Holm-Nielsen
Global Lead, Resilience/DRM, World Bank
Manuela Chiapparino
Senior Operations Officer, GFDRR
Partnerships for resilience

A persistent challenge for many cities around the world hinges on designing attractive investments. As such, cities experience a strong demand to support upstream work to help prioritize resilience in their long-term planning. CRP can help cities engage with partners with interest in urban development and disaster risk management, and priorities in financing efforts aimed at urban resilience, capital mobilization, private sector development and innovation.

CRP follows a three-tiered approach fostering city-focused collaboration within the wider World Bank Group: building external partnerships with private, public and multilateral organizations dealing with urban resilience; internal collaboration across the World Bank, and implementing targeted advocacy and outreach activities. The program invests in building technical and financial partnerships for cities, including promoting technical and financial collaboration across World Bank Group units; outreach to IFI’s development partners, private sector investors, technology firms and other actors in the urban resilience space.

In Focus: Resilient Investment Planning Workshop, Madrid, July 2019


Madrid Workshop – July 2019


CRP organized a Resilience Investment Workshop in Madrid, Spain, on July 8–12, 2019 combining work streams and activities from two thematic areas— Planning for Resilience and Finance for Resilience. The five-day interactive workshop brought together government officials from 24 cities in the global South, technical teams, as well as international finance institutions (IFIs) and donors to help cities explore and refine their resilience infrastructure investment options. The event was hosted by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

Similar to previous workshops’ interactive approach, the week featured a mix of presentations, case studies, a marketplace, and office hours that enabled concrete support from technical and financial experts to task teams and clients. The workshop consolidated the existing expertise both within and outside the World Bank, and presented each city delegation with support opportunities tailored to their project needs. On the planning side, cities were exposed to new innovative technological solutions, new ways of thinking around risk, and had access to various technical teams around topics ranging from solid waste management to resilient transport. On the finance side, financial advisors highlighted several possibilities to try to develop these concepts further into well-prepared, risk-informed and bankable projects. Cities themselves saw the workshop as providing them with a general framework to think about the most effective ways of unlocking private capital into their investment needs.

Manuela Chiapparino
Senior Operations Officer, GFDRR