What is Resilience?

“Resilience is about surviving and thriving, regardless of the challenge. Urban resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience”.

Greater Manchester is home to nearly 3 million people and over 100,000 businesses. As the city region grows in size and complexity, as new technology becomes increasingly part of everyone’s lives and as international connections expand, Greater Manchester is focusing on how to build a resilient future.

Urban resilience can therefore be understood as the capacity of the city region to deal with shocks or disruptive events such as floods or flu pandemics that threaten our ability to keep on the path we have set for the future. This capacity to navigate shocks and to maintain confidence in the city region is also dependent upon recognising and addressing chronic stresses such as poverty or ageing infrastructure that weaken its fabric and can undermine attempts to respond to crises and to create a stronger future in their aftermath.

Greater Manchester Resilience Unit

The Greater Manchester Resilience Unit (GMRU) is part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and is led by the Chief Resilience Officer for Greater Manchester. The Chief Resilience Officer also has responsibility for the AGMA Civil Contingencies and Resilience Unit (CCRU), a specialist unit providing expert civil contingencies services to the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities including in the areas of health protection, disaster risk reduction, emergency management and recovery. The unit offers a year round emergency response service, ensuring Greater Manchester’s local authorities always have access to disaster management expertise.

The AGMA CCRU holds the secretarial responsibility for the Greater Manchester Resilience Forum (GMRF). The GMRF is a partnership of agencies including the emergency services from across the Greater Manchester Sub-Region with responsibility for coordinating and overseeing emergency planning. Its overall purpose is to ensure that there is an appropriate level of preparedness to enable an effective multi-agency response to emergency incidents which may have significant impact on the communities of Greater Manchester.

For more information on the activity of the GMRF and on how to prepare for emergencies please visit the Greater Manchester Prepared website:

Greater Manchester Prepared (link opens in a new window)

Greater Manchester Resilience Strategy

The Greater Manchester Resilience Strategy is the first of its kind for Greater Manchester. It builds on nearly two decades of multi-agency working to plan and to respond to civil risks and emergencies within the context of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. It incorporates learning from efforts in Greater Manchester and across the world to reduce the risk of disasters and crises. It has been created using the processes and tools developed by 100 Resilient Cities (now the Resilient Cities Network) which aim to catalyse the strengthening of urban resilience in our cities and city-regions.

Greater Manchester Resilience Strategy 2020-2030 (PDF, 18.9MB)

Greater Manchester Resilience Strategy 2020-2030 - Plain text / Accessible Version (PDF, 433KB)

International Cooperation

Greater Manchester is proud to be part of two worldwide movements that are fostering new approaches to resilience and in so doing helping to protect communities and keep them safe.

United Nation’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign

In 2014 Greater Manchester’s ten districts became role models in the United Nation’s Making Cities Resilient Campaign. The ambition of this campaign and of Greater Manchester is to deliver the international commitment of the United Nation’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030. The Sendai Framework aims  to drive a substantial reduction of disaster risk and associated losses, whether these are losses in lives, livelihoods and health or losses of economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries.

As part of this, stakeholders can make voluntary commitments to support the implementation of the framework. 

Greater Manchester made a commitment of ‘Improving Disaster Resilience in an Ageing Greater Manchester’. This commitment aims to ensure that older people are heard when designing disaster resilience building programmes, enabling Greater Manchester to co-identify potential solutions and approaches to resilience. The participatory research conducted by Ambition for Ageing and the GM Resilience Unit is leading to innovative projects about disaster risk involving older people, for example an intergenerational programme of older people leading school workshops on planning for emergencies to take place in Bolton.

In August 2019, this commitment was highlighted by the United Nations as it described joint efforts by two organisations (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities and Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation) but also because it applies inclusive and evidence-based police design for the benefit of marginalised and vulnerable groups in society such as older people.

Report: Resilience in an Ageing Greater Manchester (link opens in a new window)

100 Resilient Cities (100RC) programme

In 2016, Greater Manchester was selected to join the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) programme. 100RC - pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation of New York - is dedicated to helping cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC supports the adoption and incorporation of a view of resilience that includes not just the shocks – flooding, fires, terror attacks, etc. – but also the stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day to day or cyclical basis. By addressing both the shocks and the stresses, a city becomes more able to respond to adverse events, and is overall better able to deliver basic functions in both good times and bad, to all populations.

Recent projects

Uscore2 – International Peer Review of Disaster Risk Reduction

Uscore2 is a peer review process designed for cities by cities. Using funding from the European Commission, Uscore2 enables cities across the world to share their experiences and learn from each other about good practice in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

In 2017 and 2018 Salford and Greater Manchester have been part of the Uscore2 project, designing and piloting the city-to-city peer review tool for DRR. A link to a summary of the outcomes of the Salford peer review can be found below.

UScore2 (link opens in a new window)


Email:    contingencies.agma@manchester.gov.uk

Follow us on Twitter

Resilient Greater Manchester: @ResilientGM
Tweets from the Greater Manchester Resilience team. Working to make GM one of the most resilient places in the world to live, work, visit and play.

Greater Manchester Prepared: @GM_prepared
Tweets from the Greater Manchester Resilience Forum - a multi-agency partnership of responding organisations which coordinate and oversee emergency planning in our city-region.

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