Hong Kong Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities) and Citi Foundation today announce a new partnership aimed at supporting local small and medium-sized businesses while advancing the recovery of selected cities in Asia Pacific.
The Catalyzing City Resilience Solutions (CCRS) program will see R-Cities and Citi Foundation work with municipal governments to address pressing urban challenges exacerbated by the pandemic by making small and medium-sized businesses part of the solution.
According to the International Labour Organization, the pandemic has led to the loss of 81 million jobs in the Asia Pacific region. Small and medium-sized businesses, which make up 96% of all Asian businesses and support 62% of all jobs on the continent1, have been hit particularly hard.
At a time when cities need to do more with less, recovery efforts provide an opportunity to support local businesses through solutions that are more sustainable. Many of these businesses have so far been reliant on stimulus and incentives to stay afloat.
As part of the program, participating cities will propose projects or identify needs to improve resilience. R-Cities and Citi Foundation will work with these municipal governments to identify the potential solutions required after which small and medium-sized businesses will be invited to share their proposals for consideration through official government procurement processes.
Each city will either match funding provided through the CCRS program or provide in-kind contribution to the program.
“At Citi, we are committed to empowering communities by helping businesses to create jobs. This partnership with The Resilient Cities Network reinforces Citi’s commitment to support small and medium-sized businesses that are vital to helping cities stimulate economic growth, create jobs and improve resilience as they recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Peter Babej, Chief Executive Officer, Asia Pacific, Citi.
Up to eight cities in the region will be selected to be part of the program. The selection process is currently underway and is open to R-Cities’ network across Asia. The program will run until the end of 2021.
Once concluded, R-Cities will help connect the selected cities to a network of experts, knowledge products, and trainings to further help them enhance capacity and expertise. The findings from the CCRS program will be presented to cities, small businesses, policymakers, and financial institutions around the world to increase capital flows to small and medium-sized businesses and build an evidence base that can lead to longer-term policy changes.
“We have an opportunity for cities to spark investment to deliver resilience benefits, strengthening local businesses to endure future shocks and stresses,” offered Lauren Sorkin, Executive Director, Resilient Cities Network. “In order to achieve a resilient recovery, emerging from the COVID-19 crisis, cities must strengthen small and medium-sized businesses, reform existing procurement processes, foster communications across sectors, and advance evidence-based policy reforms. These are the actions that will be supported through our partnership with Citi Foundation.”
The CCRS program builds on the ongoing partnership between R-Cities and Citi Foundation. In 2019, the partners launched Leadership for Urban Resilience and Sustainable Development. This program supports cities in building stronger partnerships with the private sector to enhance urban resilience. The program, underway in Sydney and Jakarta, is focused on localizing Sustainable Development Goals including building resilience in the management of urban infrastructure assets.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
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The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach deploys the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.
Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities)
Resilient Cities Network is a global city-led non-profit organization that brings together knowledge, practice, partnerships, and funding to empower cities to help them build a safe, equitable, and sustainable future for all. The Network integrates the combined effort of urban practitioners, city governments, and communities in a collective, comprehensive, and well-coordinated call-to-action to deliver urban impact-driven resilience solutions.
For more information on R-Cities https://resilientcitiesnetwork.org/