3. Set boundaries for the effort

Overview

Depending on your regional climate impacts and issues, the stakeholder mix, the set of local, regional or state policies you are operating within, and the history of addressing climate change in your region, you will want to engage in conversations with stakeholders about where your regional adaptation collaborative should draw the boundaries of its effort. Drawing and maintaining boundaries for your effort will help connect conceptual thinking about roles and responsibilities to actual planning and action (SOURCE –Green Cities California, Climate Adaptation Breakthrough Convening Report).

In the nine-county Bay Area there are many stakeholders working on mitigation, so it made sense to focus our collaboration on adaptation to add real value to the overall regional climate program. Taking the time to clearly set the boundaries of your collaborative will prove invaluable to building a strong coalition.
-Bruce Riordan, Bay Area Climate and Energy Project

In order to clearly define boundaries for your effort, you might choose to focus on specific climate impacts. For example, climate impacts like drought and water supply may be related, but are very different. Key players and their roles will vary depending on whether the problem is acute, like drought, or if it is a more systemic issue, like water supply. You might also consider the scale and limits of climate impacts, such as the geographical scale of the threat, what segment or segments of the population will be impacted, and the level of urgency required to address the impact (SOURCE – Green Cities California, Climate Adaptation Breakthrough Convening Report). You might want to address either or both mitigation and adaptation.

Although you may be tempted at the outset to include all issues, that is likely to diminish your effectiveness, and dilute engagement of key stakeholders. Also, there may be many groups that could be ideal members, but their goals might fall outside appropriate boundaries for your effort. While it is important to know the limitations of what a collaborative will and will not do, flexibility may be crucial for addressing this issue. If engaged effectively with a clearly defined boundary, key stakeholders will more easily recognize shared goals and might be more likely to work collaboratively to achieve those goals.

Each regional adaptation collaborative member of ARCCA has a distinct boundary for its effort. The Capitol Region Climate Readiness Collaborative draws its geographical boundary using the six-county Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) region, which includes El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba Counties. This collaborative currently focuses on adaptation only. The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is comprised of nine counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma – this area is the geographic boundary for the Bay Area Climate and Energy Resilience Project. The Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability (LARC) uses the Los Angeles County border as its geographical boundary, and focuses on both adaptation and greenhouse gas reduction. Similarly, San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative uses the San Diego County border as its geographical boundary, and focuses on adaptation and greenhouse gas reduction.

Boundaries will inform the needs of a regional adaptation collaborative and its needs will inform its boundaries. The nexus between boundaries and needs demonstrates, yet again, that although this toolkit lays out steps in a linear fashion, development of a regional adaptation collaborative is an iterative and non-linear process.

Work with key stakeholders to decide how long boundaries will be in place. You might set the boundary for one year, and then reevaluate that boundary, as the adaptation field is constantly changing. You might work with state and federal partners that are active in the region to identify appropriate pathways for communication based on boundaries. You might also define a memorandum of understanding or principles of collaboration so you have a basic framework for moving to the next element, which is the identification of detailed needs of collaborative members.

Tools & Resources

California's adaptation strategy: Safeguarding California

In 2009, California adopted a statewide Climate Adaptation Strategy that summarized climate change impacts and recommended adaptation strategies across seven sectors: Public Health, Biodiversity and Habitat, Oceans and Coastal Resources, Water, Agriculture, Forestry, and Transportation and Energy. The Safeguarding California Plan updates the 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy, augmenting previously identified strategies in light of advances in climate science and risk management options.

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