First-ever global chief heat officer announced at the World Urban Forum

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Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center
Sun above a city
Tom Wang/Shutterstock

Today, at the World Urban Forum, UN-Habitat and the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing a partnership to address the impact of extreme urban heat by mainstreaming heat across UN-Habitat’s various areas of work and across UN agencies.

Eleni Myrivili, who has been serving as Athens’s Chief Heat Officer since 2021, will take on the Global Chief Heat Officer (CHO) role to facilitate the partnership and advance heat response and resilience measures in cities around the globe.

“Extreme heat is the number one climate risk in many countries, and it is particularly threatening in cities. That is why UN-Habitat is thrilled to embark on this collaboration with the Arsht-Rock Resilience Centre to prioritize extreme urban heat across UN-Habitat’s areas of work to protect lives and economies from this growing threat,” said Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat.

Under this partnership and new global role, the organizations will work together to continue to raise awareness of heat as a growing threat to public health, identify early opportunities and existing projects to bring cooling solutions to cities, and bring resources and tools to the UN-Habitat cities to protect people and livelihoods.

“Climate driven extreme heat is roasting people in their homes, schools and at work. Today’s announcement means that cities in 90 countries around the world will have access to state-of-the-art tools and solutions that will protect their most vulnerable and sustain local economies,” said Kathy Baughman McLeod, SVP and director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center.

Climate driven extreme heat is roasting people in their homes, schools and at work. Today’s announcement means that cities in 90 countries around the world will have access to state-of-the-art tools and solutions that will protect their most vulnerable and sustain local economies.
Kathy Baughman McLeod, SVP and director of Arsht-Rock

Athens joined Arsht-Rock’s City Champions for Heat Action as a founding member in 2021, at which time Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, with support from Arsht-Rock, appointed Myrivili as Athens’s CHO to help accelerate the protection of vulnerable people and find the best cooling solutions for the long-term health and wellbeing of the people of Athens. Myrivilli has dedicated a substantive portion of her career to climate adaptation and urban heat resilience having previously served as Athens’s Deputy Mayor for Urban Nature and Climate Resilience, an elected position. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Arsht-Rock Resilience Center, co-chair of the Center’s Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance Policy Working Group, and sits on the Steering Committee of the Resilient Cities Network.

“It is a profound honor to take on the role of Global Chief Heat Officer. I am eager to coordinate the collaboration between Arsht-Rock and UN-Habitat to elevate the issue of heat in cities worldwide,” said Eleni Myrivili, Athen’s Chief Heat Officer. “Through this partnership, we will advance solutions that protect communities and create a cooler, more livable future.”

As Athens’ CHO, Myrivili coordinated the city’s efforts to respond to the challenges of rising heatwaves for the most disenfranchised and to elevate extreme heat as a serious challenge for the city’s wellbeing.  Under this partnership and new global role, the organizations will work together to create an Urban Heat Task Force, share information and technical expertise to jointly design and implement extreme heat-related initiatives, and support policies that enable the mainstreaming of heat in local planning and building on synergies to address urban heat in local climate change mitigation and adaptation frameworks.

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