Government leaders increasingly agree that “rare and unexpected events” are now neither rare nor unexpected.

Indeed, they are shocks—more frequent and more destabilizing. While governments were exposed to a host of mostly unforeseen challenges from the global pandemic, they have captured valuable lessons. Leaders understand where they need to concentrate their readiness efforts for “future shocks,” carrying the momentum from rapid, pandemic-driven innovation into their preparation.

The IBM Center for The Business of Government and the IBM Institute for Business Value, in partnership with the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) and a range of other partners, launched an initiative last year to help government leaders further identify those core capabilities critical to building resilience. Collaborative action to address anticipated threats requires focus and cooperation across a broad ecosystem of partners and stakeholders. Each step forward helps build progress toward addressing major national and international priorities, including the Grand Challenges in Public Administration put forth by the Academy.

Over the past year, we convened a series of international roundtable discussions with global leaders from across the public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors to capture lessons across multiple key domain areas:

  • Emergency preparedness and response
  • Cybersecurity
  • Supply chain
  • Sustainability
  • Workforce skills

In each of these domains, insights from the roundtables have helped to identify strategies and solutions for governments to address the challenges that lie ahead, by identifying a set of practical and specific recommendations for near-term implementation.

A recent roundtable focused on climate resilience, identifying capabilities through which government leaders and stakeholders can move forward. The session addressed the overall sustainability challenge, as well as three major topics:

  • Clean energy transition
  • Sustainable development (including land management)
  • Water management

This report addresses how governments can strengthen their climate resilience. We hope this report— which summarizes the six imperatives that emerged from the expert roundtable—provides government leaders and stakeholders with a practical and actionable roadmap to address this critically important issue.


In addition to the climate resilience roundtable held in the United States, together with the American Chamber of Commerce in Finland, we convened a roundtable event in Helsinki in November 2023 to discuss and share insights on climate resilience and sustainability. Comprising senior leaders from Finland’s public and private sectors, the roundtable explored how governments—in partnership with other organizations—can take concrete steps to scale action on climate change and build foundations that support climate-resilient societies and economies. Read our report.