Regional Governance for Climate Action

The Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) is producing a guidance series on building regional climate resilience. This document explores strategies from 12 regional collaboratives to build or expand governance structures for regional climate action. The report details the benefits of regional governance; “promising practices” for building good governance; the various forms a regional collaborative can take; and how the goals, strategy, and stakeholders can determine the collaborative’s structure and membership.

The report focuses on the significance of membership considerations for a regional collaborative. According to ISC, membership can determine a regional climate collaborative’s success, as it is strongly dependent on having the right governments and other stakeholders involved. Further, local context is the most important consideration for climate collaboratives in determining membership makeup, including social equity priorities, assets at risk, and economic goals.

The report also reviews the benefits of having a legal standing and formalizing the structure of a collaborative to help develop legitimacy and increase the potential for earning authority. Formalizing can take the form of legislation, a charter, or a signed memorandum of understanding.

The passage “Considerations When Choosing a Formal Structure” was developed by Jessica Grannis and Annie Bennett of the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC). Regional collaboratives have three different options for incorporating as a formal entity under the state laws that GCC has reviewed:

1. They can form a regional entity through state statutes authorizing the creation of a regional government entity.
2. Some states allow regional entities to form a nonprofit through state statutes.
3. They can continue to operate through fiscal agents (such as an existing regional entity, a nonprofit, or university).

GCC is exploring the implications of these different formation options, and the benefits and drawbacks to each are described. 

Three profiles of regional collaboratives are given to illustrate their unique structures including: the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, Metro Boston Climate Preparedness Commitment, and Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability. The structure, goals, and governance strategies developed by each collaborative depend strongly on the local political context in which they exist.

The report Appendix has “Examples of Operating Procedures from Regional Collaboratives,” which are real-world examples of how existing regional collaboratives have written rules to govern decision-making, membership policies, and general operations.


This report was produced by the Institute for Sustainable Communities with help from Jessica Grannis of the Georgetown Climate Center, as well as Jennifer Jurado, Krista Kline, Axum Teferra, Mariia Zimmerman, David Grosso and Bruce Riordan.



Publication Date: February 5, 2016

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