Member Spotlight, May 2020

Member’s Name: Jorge Gastelumendi
Member’s Position/Title: Global Policy Director
Organization: Adrienne Arsht – Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center at the Atlantic Council (AARFRC)
Organization Type: Non-governmental organization


Tell us about your organization and its goals.

The Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (AARFRC) aims to reach one billion people with resilience solutions to climate change, migration, and human security challenges by 2030. We focus efforts on individuals, communities, and a broad spectrum of governments and institutions to help them, and their constituencies and stakeholders, better prepare for, navigate, and recover from shocks and stresses.

The AARFRC will leverage the intellectual strength, global reach, and nearly sixty-years of measurable global public policy impact of its overarching institution, the Atlantic Council. The Atlantic Council promotes constructive US leadership and engagement in the world based on the central role of the Atlantic community, working with its allies and partners, to meet global challenges.


What activities/initiatives related to cities climate finance are you currently engaged in or planning?

As part of our Extreme Urban Heat Initiative, we will mobilize experts from the financial and risk industry and the humanitarian community to develop resilience solutions to local challenges in seven global cities—Paris, Athens, Mexico City, Chennai, Tel-Aviv, Melbourne and Miami.

Utilizing thousands of acres of unused rooftops to grow communal gardens across Chennai, India, we will provide a natural cooling mechanism to combat the heat island effect, while at the same time offer opportunities to produce nutritious food for schoolchildren and their families and empower women’s livelihoods to prosper.

In partnership with the Weather and Climate Risks Group at ETH Zurich, we are creating a decision-support tool called the Rapid Economics of Climate Adaptation (RECA). This web-based, user-friendly tool will allow governments and institutions to more rapidly identify cost-effective climate adaptation measures, and as a first of its kind, will consider gender, biodiversity and social vulnerabilities.


How can other Alliance members learn about your work and cooperate with you?

We are a nimble and proactive team, so getting in contact directly with me would be a good first step into learning first-hand and in detail what we are up to and areas of potential collaboration. Follow along on Twitter at @ArshtRock and visit our website


How do you stay informed about city-level climate finance and related subjects?

Through an active network of on the ground and global partners with whom we are working on implementing our initiatives, including public officials from a handful of cities, cities networks, cities programs and city-dedicated funds and facilities supported by bilateral and multilateral financial institutions and organizations.


What does the AARFRC expect to gain from the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance?

We will not be able to achieve our goal of reaching one billion people alone. Having a strong network of partners is key to our work. By joining the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance, we will have the ability to better convoke and collaborate with other members of the Alliance and, jointly with them, with external partners and actors to advance a global agenda that addresses the gaps that exist in the urban resilience finance space, with a positive impact over the cities where we work and elsewhere.


What does the AARFRC expect to bring to the Alliance?

The AARFRC deploys a range of evidence-based and innovative approaches and resilience solutions, including policy frameworks, finance and risk transfer tools, and technology and communications strategies, including gaming and performing arts, to reach one billion people by 2030.

As a partner to the Alliance we can share our insights and those of our community and global partners from our work across the globe, all of which, would hopefully help us all better understand the financing and implementation challenges cities are facing in addressing resilience to climate change risks and impacts.

Stories of Resilience: An introduction - Atlantic Council

View Jorge’s bio on the AARFRC website.