Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend the bell closing ceremony of the Toronto Stock Exchange. It was part of the 5th Anniversary Celebrations for Global Compact Network Canada (GCNC). As an organization, GCNC is dedicated to assisting Canadian organizations with the advancement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 10 Principles of the UNGC.
I was also honored to be able to pick up an award for an organization I run, Economic Developers Alberta (EDA). The award was in recognition of the work we do in economic recovery and resiliency.
Since 2013, EDA has been actively promoting effective community recovery and disaster resilience. We recognized there was a critical need to strengthen community capacity to develop plans, mitigate risks, respond to incidents, and recover from climate-related hazards and natural disasters.
Some of our specific work includes:
* 2013 Southern Alberta Floods, Economic Disaster Recovery Project: Working with 11 Southern Alberta flood-impacted communities; bringing in volunteer technical assistance teams; and, producing individual business/economic recovery reports. This was the largest project of its kind in Canadian history.
* 2016-17 Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) Wildfires: Working with Fort McMurray on its business/economic recovery efforts. This included: drafting the initial Business and Economic Recovery Plan; setting up and running the Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline; validating businesses for Red Cross emergency relief; and, leading a 10-person technical team to complete an economic recovery assessment- producing and releasing a final report with over 50 recommendations on business and economic recovery for the region.
* Economic Resilience Training for Community and Regional Leaders training: Bringing the “Economic Resilience Training for Community and Regional Leaders” course to Canada from the US (originally developed by IEDC in Washington, DC); completing a pilot project in 4 Alberta communities to customize the content for the Canadian market; and, offering this course to all communities across Canada.
* Updating the Community Toolkit for Economic Recovery and Resiliency: This resource is the Canadian version of the original toolkit produced by IEDC. It was updated in 2017, and available for free download off the EDA website.
Specifically, EDA was recognized for showing national leadership in advancing SDG goals # 8, 9, 11, and 13.
#8 DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH: Promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth; achieving higher levels of economic productivity and resilience through diversification and post-recovery efforts; promoting development-oriented policies that support decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.
#9 INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE: Building quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient infrastructure.
#11 SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES: Becoming more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; strengthening national and regional development planning efforts.
#13 CLIMATE ACTION: Increasing disaster resilience; improving education, awareness-raising; increasing human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation and impact reduction and resilience; and, decreasing direct
economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters.
We know from our experience, there’s a critical need to help communities globally to strengthen capacity in order to mitigate risks, plan for, respond to, and recover from climate-related hazards and natural disasters. We believe in building partnerships. We actively seek out best practices to inform and assist us. We hope we will be able to help many more communities become more disaster resilient in the future!