This paper reviews what local governments in more than 50 cities are doing with regard to disaster risk reduction. It draws on the reports of their participation in the global Making Cities Resilient Campaign and its 10 “essential” components, and on interviews with city mayors or managers. These show how resilience to disasters is being conceived and addressed by local governments, especially with regard to changes in their institutional framework and engagement with communities and other stakeholders, also in mobilizing finance, undertaking multi-hazard risk assessments, upgrading informal settlements, adjusting urban planning and implementing building codes. The paper summarizes what city mayors or managers view as key milestones for building resilience, and further discusses their evaluation of the usefulness of the campaign to them. It also discusses how a local government-focused perspective on disaster risk reduction informs our understanding of resilience. This includes how development can contribute much to disaster risk reduction as well as a more tangible and operational understanding of resilience (resistance + coping capacity + recovery + adaptive capacity) that local governments can understand and act on.