ARCCA Guiding Principles

Updated and Adopted – October, 2021

We find ourselves in an unprecedented time in the history of our planet — and our work as climate leaders. We are working to build resilience amid multiple converging crises: racial injustice, climate change, public health threats, and additional socio-economic challenges. Reducing our risks and increasing our resilience to these crises will require a new and unprecedented degree of equity-centered collaborative action.

ARCCA, as a statewide alliance and convener of diverse stakeholders working in the evolving climate adaptation field, is uniquely positioned to catalyze, align, and sustain efforts to create a more resilient and just future. We recognize the opportunity we have to leverage our collective capacity to create a culture of equity and collaboration, supporting climate leaders in working together to embed equity into every layer of their work — in both processes and outcomes, and centering the leadership and voices of frontline communities in climate resilience initiatives.

In 2021, ARCCA’s Guiding Principles were updated to guide our efforts towards the realization of an equitable and resilient future for all Californians. These principles outline our holistic approach to balancing social, environmental, and economic needs as we seek to mobilize and align local, regional, and State efforts to advance climate adaptation solutions.

1. Consider the Equity, Health, and Safety of All Californians

Adaptation is fundamentally about protecting people, especially those who are and will be disproportionately impacted by climate change. Actions to reduce risk and build resilience must prioritize the health, safety, and wellbeing of California’s most vulnerable communities. These include historically marginalized communities that experience the first and worst consequences of climate change and other injustices, particularly Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities and other marginalized communities that have shouldered the largest health burdens and face the greatest economic barriers.

ARCCA seeks to support local and regional efforts to build resilience by understanding the perspectives and needs of our diverse member communities throughout the state and co-creating solutions that simultaneously promote environmental justice, economic stability, and long-term resilience.

2. Focus on the Regional Level

Communities have a self-defined regional identity created by shared geography and mutual reliance on resources. The landscape-level impacts of climate change also demand regional collaboration to best leverage limited resources, avoid maladaptive practices, and advance impactful solutions. By collaborating at the regional scale, communities are more likely to be successful in building meaningful climate resilience, particularly by amplifying marginalized voices, prioritizing frontline communities, and aligning policies, plans, and programs.

For these reasons, ARCCA prioritizes collaboration on adaptation within and across regions, focuses efforts where there is common ground, and supports all regions, whether members, non-members, or future members, as a statewide resource.

3. Empower Collaboration Across All Sectors and Levels of Leadership

In order to accelerate durable and effective solutions, build capacity for local and regional action, overcome barriers to success, and elevate the needs of those most impacted by climate change, we must establish and expand alliances, collaboratives, networks and community partnerships across the state. These collaborative efforts should include public, private, nonprofit, and community-based partners working across sectors to deliver comprehensive adaptation solutions.

ARCCA works to bring together stakeholders across all levels of leadership, geographies, sectors, and communities to foster knowledge exchange, build collective capacity for implementation, and facilitate collaborative efforts that advance regional adaptation efforts. To support this, ARCCA provides platforms for information sharing and mutual learning, coordinates adaptation policy engagement, organizes statewide convenings, and serves as a liaison between regions and the State.

4. Prioritize Forward-Looking Adaptation Projects

Adaptation strategies should be comprehensive, provide multiple benefits and be incorporated into existing plans, policies and decision-making processes. Strategies must, first and foremost, be equitably devised and implemented, centering the leadership and address the unequal burden faced by frontline communities; they should not only consider the inequities of the past and present, but those that might emerge in the future as the impacts of climate change worsen. Effective strategies will also incorporate best-available science, adaptive management techniques, regular monitoring and evaluation, and efforts to build long-term capacity. In order to maintain the valuable ecosystem services that communities rely upon, nature-based strategies should also be prioritized.

ARCCA elevates equitable and forward-looking adaptation frameworks, strategies, and practices among its membership and to State leadership. ARCCA will remain responsive to the needs of its members and California’s diverse communities in order to bring attention to important considerations that have been overlooked, uplift promising local and regional solutions, and amplify marginalized voices in state policy engagement.