ATHENS, GREECE — May 2, 2023 — In partnership with the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock), Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis announced Elissavet Bargianni as Athens’s newest Chief Heat Officer (CHO). She succeeds Eleni Myrivili, who held the position since 2021, and is now the Global Chief Heat Officer for UN-Habitat – a partnership between UN-Habitat and Arsht-Rock that advances heat response and resilience measures in cities around the globe.
“Athens takes the threats of rising heat seriously and is building resilience to the adverse effects of climate change. Athens is proud that Eleni Myrivili has joined UN Habitat and we are excited to keep working with the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Resilience Center and Elisavet Bargianni, our new CHO,” said Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens. “With leadership and expertise, we will work together to protect our residents, reduce the urban heat island effect, and build a more resilient and sustainable city for future generations.”
“It is a profound honor to take on the role of Chief Resilience and Heat Officer for Athens and fill the shoes of my esteemed predecessor, Eleni Myrivili,” said Bargianni. “We have been collaborating for several years now and I am eager to build on the work that she started, advancing solutions that protect all Athenians from extreme heat and create a cooler, more livable future.”
Arsht-Rock, through its Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance (EHRA), created and piloted the world’s first CHO positions in 2021 to unify city governments’ responses to extreme heat. CHOs are charged with accelerating existing heat protection efforts and implementing solutions to reduce the risks and impacts of extreme heat for their respective residents and constituents.
In this role, Bargianni will: raise awareness of the impacts of extreme heat and the many solutions available with key constituents and partners; identify the communities and neighborhoods that are most vulnerable to extreme heat; work to improve planning and response to heat waves; coordinate stakeholders; implement long-term heat protection and cooling projects; and oversee current initiatives set in motion by Myrivili, such as reviving the ancient Hadrian’s Aqueduct system to green and cool the city and advancing the city’s successful efforts to categorize heat waves.
As a core member of Arsht-Rock’s Global Champions for Heat Action, along with Miami-Dade County (USA) and Freetown (Sierra Leone), Bargianni and the city of Athens will continue to receive extended technical assistance from EHRA and be connected to a network of global cities working to address the impacts of extreme heat. Arsht-Rock will also work hand-in-hand with Bargianni to identify, develop, and implement strategies and priorities that accelerate heat resilience in the short term while laying a foundation for sustained heat protection and cooling over time.
“We are thrilled to welcome Elissavet as the next Chief Heat Officer for the City of Athens,” said Kathy Baughman McLeod, Senior Director at the Atlantic Council and Director of Arsht-Rock. “Her extensive experience and deep knowledge of the city and its residents make her the ideal candidate to further establish Athens as a center of excellence on heat action and a champion for protecting people from extreme heat.”
Bargianni has worked with the City of Athens administration over the past two decades and is highly regarded for her contributions to the European Union and other technical and financing programs aimed at promoting climate mitigation, adaptation, and urban resilience. Her recent projects include updating the Athens Climate Action Plan (2022) as well as co-designing four high-impact green and blue infrastructure projects through the EIB Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF) program.
Currently, Bargianni serves as Coordinator of the inter-departmental Athens Climate Adaptation Working Group. In addition, she is a representative of the C40 CoolCities Network and collaborates with several climate networks, including the Resilient Cities Network, Eurocities, and ICLEI. She is an accomplished landscape architect with extensive training both in Greece and the UK, where she earned a master’s in Landscape Architecture. Bargianni’s expertise has been instrumental in introducing new methodologies for tree-lined avenues, conducting feasibility and landscape studies for various public spaces in Athens, and launching GIS mapping and tree inventory projects for the National Garden and the city. Since 2018, she has been a key member of the city’s Resilience and Sustainability Department.
About the Adrienne-Arsht Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center
The Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock) builds individual and community resilience in the face of climate impacts. We pledge to reach one billion people around the world with resilience solutions to climate change by 2030. For more information visit onebillionresilient.org, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.