Operations & Institutionalized Processes
Institutionalizing adaptation efforts into agency processes ensures that the varied aspects of resilience are consistently and systematically assessed and where appropriate responded to, and that adaptation efforts – which will change over time, and face significant uncertainties – are continually monitored, evaluated, and improved. Institutionalization of adaptation starts with efforts to mainstreaming adaptation efforts and over time moves towards a more holistic “adaptive management” approach that builds flexibility and responsiveness into government operations. Such a process looks at integration of adaptation considerations in existing agency processes, development of processes to assess, track, and report on multi-sector progress on climate adaptation implementation, understanding and integration of legal considerations, and creation of mechanisms for ongoing multi-year adaptation funding tied to ongoing risk assessment and awareness of effective response strategies. At the optimized level, climate risks and adaptation are fully integrated into agency decision making, planning processes, and financial considerations, and project and program outcomes are tracked against an agency-wide measure of adaptive capacity.
Identify and include adaptation considerations as appropriate to specific projects, and begin to identify funding needs, opportunities, and sources.
|Identify ad hoc opportunities to integrate climate change adaptation considerations into projects and begin to identify priority agency processes that could be adjusted.|
|At the start of a new project, identify where climate change impacts should be included or considered in the project scope.
Add adaptation language (e.g. responding to and protecting against climate risks) to project goals where appropriate.
Review the agency’s operations and begin to identify processes that may be impacted by climate change or provide opportunities to increase resilience. For example, a matrix of climate stressors and the municipality’s processes could show which processes should have priority, based on potential climate impacts, opportunities for action, and potential legal considerations.
Key agency processes to review include procurement, budgeting, hiring and onboarding, technology and IT, emergency operations planning, land use planning, building codes, transportation, and capital improvements.
Review examples of programs or processes that other agencies have already flagged as vulnerable to climate change and have made adjustments to. Identify those that are most amenable to adoption by your agency and share with decision-makers.
|Leverage existing performance metrics related to climate change.|
|Look at existing environmental and other tracking mechanisms and identify those which could serve as a proxy or indicator in lieu of formal tracking of adaptation measures (e.g. heat index, flooding events, and storm surge).
Utilize available projections (e.g. Cal-Adapt) to build on existing metrics (safety, public health, environmental, economic, social equity) to create initial adaptation measures across the organization and community. Begin tracking existing projects along these metrics.
Note that comprehensive and standardized metrics to measure adaptation and climate resilience is an ongoing area of research.
|Identify funding needs and potential funding sources for adaptation activities.|
|Identify a finance staff point-person and hold informal discussions to gain a better understanding of how to leverage the agency’s financing processes and potential funding opportunities. Make sure to bring projection information to this conversation, so as to inform finance staff that adaptation risks and costs are likely to increase over time. Use outcomes of discussions to summarize key constraints, barriers, challenges, and opportunities to financing adaptation activities (e.g. legal, risk assessment, lack of strong metrics, etc.).
From discussions and other initial assessments, develop:
Develop a high-level means to start tracking availability and applicability of external resources to specific projects and activities.
Start considering what local revenue streams (e.g. sewage, trash, and taxes) could be used as leverage to secure external funding or financing streams if they were connected to adaptation efforts.
Identify opportunities to integrate adaptation into agency processes, begin to evaluate adaptation efforts, begin to develop a funding plan, and obtain funding on a project-to-project basis.
|Define and implement steps to integrate adaptation into priority agency processes, and work with agency planners and decision makers to better align adaptation roadmap with agency goals.|
|Utilize a vulnerability assessment or a more detailed analysis to determine which climate impacts are of greatest concern.
Identify by risk, sector, or potential response strategy, specific entry points for adaptation integration within existing agency processes and goals.
Identify agency programs and priority near-term goals that are likely to be affected by climate impacts, as well as business processes for which decisions made in the short term may lock in longer-term risks. Identify long-term agency goals that consider longer term risks and seek to identify institutional changes that move the organization as a whole towards mainstreaming adaptation into operational activities. As part of this process, identify when in an existing cycle (e.g. building and infrastructure update cycles) might be the least intrusive adoption point for new processes or goals.
Ask agency counsel to review legal risks and considerations for identified adaptation process and goal changes, especially longer term risks.
Form a working group to identify the specific steps to integrate climate change into these prioritized agency processes. Foster mechanisms for bottom-up and regular feedback from staff about adjustments to processes and operations so that adjustments respond to and better incorporate changing climate risks and emerging adaptation solutions.
Share information with agency planners and decision makers to raise awareness of the role of agency processes in resiliency efforts and begin to define shared adaptation goals across departments. For example, create internal fact sheets and guides on the value of integrating adaptation considerations into specific agency processes.
Begin to document adaptation integration into these entry points as a starting point for a longer-term internal plan for integration of adaptation into internal processes.
|Begin to organize performance metrics to evaluate adaptation program performance.|
|Research and develop a list of ideal adaptation performance metrics such as:
Compile information on data and tools needed to utilize ideal metrics across various risk sector and/or response strategies. Outline costs and resources needed to support establishing ideal metrics. Look for opportunities to add metrics data or tools through existing processes or programs (e.g. using a project budget to purchase software for more general use). Stay up-to-date on the latest research on adaptation metrics to incorporate new methods, particularly those that are becoming widely utilized in California.
In lieu of adaptation-specific quantitative metrics, consider conducting qualitative surveys of progress and outcomes across project areas.
For existing adaptation-related projects, create a simple summary assessment of expected outcomes to serve as a starting point for measuring progress.
Allocate staff time to stay up-to-date on the latest research, practice, and tools on methods and metrics to measure adaptation.
|Create revenue-raising plan and begin to obtain funding for adaptation-related projects.|
|Assess adaptation financing needs at a more detailed level once a set of priority adaptation strategies have been identified and work to overcome agency’s constraints to financing adaptation work (if any are identified), for example by:
Set clear internal policies and procedures to integrate adaptation into agency processes, begin measuring performance in a quantitative and systematic way, develop and implement a plan to provide predictable funding over several years.
|Codify steps to integrate adaptation into adaptation processes. Develop and/or update an “adaptation roadmap” on a regular basis.|
|Staff, executive leadership, and agency counsel work together to establish an “adaptation roadmap” at the agency policy level that formalizes integration of adaptation risk assessment and response activities into agency decision-making and planning processes (e.g., emergency management and planning, land use planning, public health planning, water resource planning, transportation planning, public works standards, building codes, project siting decisions, product procurement design standards, etc.).
As part of the adaptation roadmap, involve multiple departments and decision makers to build out comprehensive adaptation mainstreaming steps and guidance for the agency’s operations plan. Conduct thorough legal review of proposed actions to ensure that any changes in operational approaches reduce risks and respond to changing conditions while still complying with all necessary legal requirements. Especially look to define cross-cutting agency processes and individual department processes that should be adjusted to align with the adaptation roadmap (e.g. procurement, time-horizons for planning). Also review and update department-specific plans and standards to incorporate climate adaptation (e.g., public works standards for capital improvement projects, building codes, etc.).
On a regular basis (e.g., every six months to every year), review and update the adaptation roadmap to ensure it is maintaining alignment with changing conditions and is ultimately increasing adaptive capacity in agency processes. Include a review of changing legal frameworks, risks, and liabilities to ensure that legal implications of operational changes are considered and addressed.
Cultivate a strong feedback loop between key departments, executive leadership, legal counsel, and adaptation program staff. Develop protocols for staff responsible for policy, planning, finance, implementation, and maintenance to coordinate how they account for climate uncertainty, widespread climate risks, and an extended time horizon. Make sure to regularly confer with agency counsel to ensure that legal implications of risk responses are well considered. Staff working to develop and advance agency policies should coordinate with planners and adaptation program staff to ensure policies reflect appropriate standards and practices so as to ensure alignment with long term planning and adaptation processes.
|Create and follow a plan for implementing quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate adaptation program progress.|
|Refine metrics (moving towards quantifiable key performance metrics) for adaptation performance and activities (across risk sectors, departments, and response activities) so they tie into the overall adaptation plan, policy goals, and organizational metrics.
Ensure that performance metrics are integrated into standing agency reporting and governing body reporting.
Support integrated metrics reporting by developing a progress report process that delivers updates on a regular basis (e.g., at end of project or once or twice a year).
Create feedback loops between activities, outcomes, and metrics (e.g. review progress reports to identify gaps in adaptation implementation and policy or program barriers that contribute to those gaps).
|Update revenue-raising plan to provide predictable funding to meet adaptation needs over the next 2-3 years, and obtain associated funding.|
|Collaborate with the finance department to create a 2-3-year funding plan that is tied into the agency’s annual budgeting process. The plan should address both internal revenue allocation (e.g. integration of adaptation criteria in capital investment plan or allocations from the general fund) and external revenue raising (e.g. seeking out grants).
Collaborate with other departments to incorporate adaptation needs and support into their funding applications, where relevant.
Establish a process for regular finance department review of project financing screening criteria so as to ensure that the budget process can adequately respond to changing climate change risks across sectors and response strategies such as:
Valuation of co-benefits for projects that are not adaptation-specific (e.g. energy efficiency for load management and energy reliability) but have a resiliency benefit.
Adopt an “adaptation in all policies” approach across all departments, regularly collaborate with agency leaders to integrate adaptation into planning and investment decisions, and continuously evaluate and improve adaptation program in light of changing conditions, emerging practices, and shifting legal considerations.
|Continuously update adaptation roadmap as needed based on monitoring and evaluation of program. Implement an overarching adaptation policy that integrates adaptation into all relevant agency decision making and planning processes.|
|Ensure that the process and timeline for updating the adaptation roadmap is well-documented so that the program is resilient to changes in climate risks, staff allocations, leadership engagement, and political will.
Identify any remaining entry points within agency planning, legal review, and budgeting processes where adaptation integration may be relevant, in order to ensure full integration within the agency’s processes. Ensure that input from the community, agency executives, key departments and other stakeholders, as well as best-available science and new models, continue to guide the development, expansion, and enrichment of the agency’s adaptation roadmap.
Look at integrating staffing and management strategies that are conducive to the changing nature of climate risks and varied response strategies such as:
|Continuously improve adaptation program based on quantitative progress indicators and collect testimonies that are fully integrated into organizational metrics as a whole.|
|Formally integrate Adaptation Roadmap metrics into other organizational metrics so they are fully mainstreamed across the agency and support integration of climate adaptation into overarching policies and programs.
Evaluate feedback loops (approximately every year) from tracking progress to ensure that project and program approaches are benefitting from evaluation, monitoring, and verification (EMV) findings (at the end of project activities).
Conduct overall evaluation of programs (approximately every 2-3 years) to find overarching and specific opportunities for improvement especially as it relates to long-term risk reductions. As appropriate, consider using a third party to conduct this evaluation and validate its outcome.
Create a system to evolve metrics tracking systems as climate conditions and implementation steps evolve by building in periodic system review and enhancement (approximately every 3-5 years).
|Embed climate adaptation funding into overall organizational budgeting systems and ensure it is with aligned with adaptation program roadmap.|
|Gain finance department’s commitment to the agency’s adaptation roadmap and the need to develop a multi-year funding plan. Integrate adaptation goals into overall organizational funding systems.
Work with the finance department to review the adaptation roadmap and goals to inform funding plan. Ensure that funding can be distributed and coordinated across multiple departments, to account for multifaceted nature of adaptation needs.
Tie funding plan to agency annual budget process and obtain ongoing funding through general fund allocation in budget.
Tie fiscal measures across the organization to resiliency metrics to ensure that funding is moving towards resiliency and away from maladaptation.