Governance is broader than the organizations and mechanisms for decision-making that make up a government. It also accounts for the role that civil society plays in making decisions and setting priorities and the process by which citizens interact with government.
Overcoming these challenges requires the participation, perspectives, skills and resources of all parts of society. Communities that strengthen their governance capacity by building on and integrating resources from all members, including non-profit organizations, emergency responders, business owners, residents, decision-makers and more, will have greater resilience to climate change, reducing the potential for significant societal, public health and safety, economic and environmental consequences.
Because the mechanisms for decision-making and participation are critical in determining the Bay Area’s ability to adapt to climate change, ART assessed the current governance capacities of institutions, organizations, and communities in the project area. This understanding of the governance then led to the development of specific adaptation responses to address the challenges of ownership, management responsibilities, jurisdiction, mandates, mechanisms of participation, and organizational structure that influence vulnerability and resilience.
Sustainability Frames in ART
Governance is one of four sustainability frames that are integrated into each step of the ART Approach to adaptation planning to ensure that a wide range of critical issues is identified, and that the outcomes of the process will maintain or increase sustainability of shoreline communities.
Governance in the ART Subregional Project
Asset- and sector-specific governance challenges were identified for each of the twelve categories of assets evaluated. The project also pinpointed governance challenges that cut across the sectors, agencies, and organizations. To address both the sector-specific and cross-cutting governance vulnerabilities, ART developed actions along with options for implementation that were included in the project’s adaptation responses.
Recognizing that governance emerged in the vulnerability and risk assessment as a key issue that the Bay Area needs to consider and address, ART evaluated the role of governance in planning for climate change. This analysis examined the institutional capacity of organizations and agencies in the Bay Area that will have a role in increasing resilience in the region.
The findings of this analysis along with the assessment outcomes demonstrate that governance needs to be considered first if the Bay Area is to increase its resilience. By carefully identifying governance challenges and the actions needed to address them, the region can increase resilience to all current and future hazards and disruptions, and strengthen other aspects of sustainability including the economy, equity and the environment.
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- Lindy Lowe