Wednesday the 28th of June marked the kick-off of the RESILIENCEpoort network. A variety of stakeholders gathered at International Press Center Nieuwspoort to discuss opportunities for cooperation concerning resilience. RESILIENCEpoort board member Frits Bussemaker opened the event with an introduction of RESILIENCEpoort’s main objectives: putting resilience on the political agenda and stimulating cooperation in this field.
Among the keynote speakers was Jonathan Reichental, Chief Information Officer of Palo Alto. During his keynote, he addressed different risks and surprises facing our society, such as climate change and cyber security. In his conclusion, he argued that we should make resilience both an individual and an organisational priority.
Jonathan’s speech was followed up by Carolien Gehrels, EU director of Big Urban Cities Arcadis. She focussed on mega cities and the possibility for cooperation between companies facing similar challenges. Consequently, she addressed the importance of both public-private alliances and the use of knowledge institutions. Likewise, she believes that urban planning is key in the creation of smart cities.
Next, we turned from cities to the ecovillages of James Erhlich; the CEO and founder of REGENvillages. Where ‘technology is a means to an end’, REGENvillages show the feasibility of energy positive, resilient neighbourhoods that host self-reliant families.
The last, but certainly not least, keynote speech was given by Anne-Marie Hitipeuw, the Chief Resilience Officer of The Hague. This function is part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities programme, that The Hague has recently joined. Anne-Marie started her keynote by providing a profile of The Hague and illustrating which projects are currently already taking place. Subsequently, potential areas for improving resilience were highlighted. The first meeting on this topic, in which citizens of The Hague were closely involved as well, identified critical infrastructure dilemmas, social issues, and cyber security as the main areas of focus in improving resilience.
The second part of the event consisted of a panel discussion and networking opportunity. The panel members included Igor van Gemert, CEO/Founder of SIM-CI; Stijn Grove, the director of Dutch Data Center Association; and Jan Middendorp, a VVD member of parliament and spokesperson for ICT & Government within his party. In moderating the discussion, Frits Bussemaker posed the question: ‘Do we need a RESILIENCEpoort?’ Especially relevant was that all panel members concur that the existence of RESILIENCEpoort as a key to public-private parties, is crucial. According to Stijn, we need such alliances for coordination between resilience-promoting initiatives. Similarly, according to Jan, an initiative such as RESILIENCEpoort is needed to ensure that the government accommodates the resilience movement. Lastly, according to Igor, the fact that we are so reliant on our energy supply shows the importance of building and maintaining resilient critical infrastructures.
During the ‘small talk & serious business’ networking opportunity, participants of the event were able to further discuss some of the dilemmas we are facing with regards to climate change and cyber security. Whilst enjoying drinks and bitterballen, participants worked towards forming new alliances between industry, government and research institutes.