Climate Change Resilience: Governance and Reforms

Climate Change Resilience: Governance and Reforms offers policy recommendations to increase resilience to climate change impacts through improved governance. Provided by the Arizona State University Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, the report integrates input from the 2014 Climate Change Resilience: Governance and Reforms Summit in Washington, DC. The summit goals were to explore the cross-sector, multi-level, contentious, and political facets of resilience; and to examine links among resilience, community empowerment, and economic development.

The following strategies were distilled as key messages from the Summit to address three over-arching governance issues defined in the report:

1. Communities and Local Governance Systems

  • Build on the community’s values and history
  • Enhance resilience through broad community participation
  • Recognize resource constraints 

2. Institutions Interacting within Governance Systems

  • Understand the diverse stakeholders that impact resilience
  • Coordinate and develop working relationships with diverse stakeholders
  • Accept the contentious nature of resilience building

3. Systemic Issues in Governance

  • Change laws and policies that limit resilience
  • Reflect on barriers to updating government processes and norms
  • Address disparities and power dynamics

While climate change impacts are often felt most acutely at the local level, communities often lack resources to prepare for and respond to the effects of climate change. Jessica Grannis of the Georgetown Climate Center is quoted in the report describing that, “In a lot of the communities we work with, there’s only one person wearing multiple different hats and also trying to be the adaptation guru and bring climate into their laws and policies on the ground.” To be effective, these people would ideally know how to “integrate what they want to do into the very complicated layers of laws at the local, state, and federal levels,” but this capacity is often limited, hindering resilience building.

The report addresses that while increasing resilience does start at the local government or community levels, institutions with broader jurisdiction also play important roles. City governments, for example, interact with other cities, state and regional governments. Another community-level resilience concept acknowledges that “working toward inclusiveness and empowerment of disenfranchised and marginalized groups in the resilience-building process can lead to better solutions and support a more just and equitable society.”


Publication Date: January 30, 2017

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • James Nachbaur
  • Irina Feygina
  • Elise Lipkowitz
  • Darshan Karwat

Related Organizations:

  • Arizona State University

Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Policy analysis/recommendations

Go To Resource

User Comments:

  • March 19, 2017
    Kimberly Hill Knott, President/CEO at Future Insight Consulting, LLC

    This was a pretty good summary of the 2014 Climate Change Resilience Summit in Washington, DC. I really like the cross-sector approach to addressing climate resilience, including political facets. It is very important that climate planning processes include a multi-faceted approach, including addressing political barriers, equity and meaningful and balanced stakeholder engagement.