Assessment Framework: Agenda Setting and Strategy

The Assessment Framework includes a total of 34 action areas organized into 6 categories (agenda setting/strategies, policy/plan formulation, implementation, feedback/evaluation, dissemination, GHG emissions). The Assessment Framework tries to represent climate-related actions undertaken at any given moment by a local government (LG) as either incremental, transitional or transformative. Zooming out to the level of the assessment categories allows the user to assess, along thematic lines, where (and how) things are changing in local government GHG emissions, policy, planning or operations. Assessment categories reflect local government mandates to undertake strategic plans, regulate and operate internally. The assessment criteria have been informed by key concepts embedded in social practice theories, multi-level perspective, and socio-ecological systems thinking.

Click on the assessment column to read more about each one. Bolded titles are categories, while the numbered headings refer to areas where local governments can engage in climate action. Note that there are four tables in total, with the first three showing one category per table, and the last grouping together 3 categories.

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Local Government Climate Action Assessment Framework
Action Areas Incremental Actions Reformative Actions Transformative Actions
Agenda Setting and Strategy

1. Strategic Approach

Climate-related initiatives/programs are framed as either efforts to mitigate or adapt to climate change. Climate-related initiatives/programs are seen to contribute to multiple LG departmental strategies. Climate-related initiatives/programs are framed as vital parts of a more holistic sustainable community agenda/narrative/strategy.

2. Champions

Sustainability / Environmental manager, supported by loosely organized community activists Small, impassioned, but dispersed group of social entrepreneurs within LG, supported by developed local network of external stakeholders Majority of elected officials and senior staff, supported by research/policy/activist networks operating at multiple levels

3. Motivational drivers

Response to legal requirement or desire for competitiveness or clean environment; vision of ecological modernization Innovation leading to green jobs, energy independence, and economic diversification and competitiveness Improved human health and community liveability; improved quality of local environment; reduced adaptation costs

4. Mandate

Little to no alignment leading to diminished capacity to succeed on meaningful climate action Active participation in voluntary inter-governmental sectoral (e.g. Water, building codes) committees LG roles clearly defined within an integrated regulatory framework optimized for climate action

5. Integrated planning and programs

Lack of agreement leading to weak / uneven consideration of climate principles by departments wrt operational or investment decisions Environment-related departments understand risks/opportunities and try their best to include principles in their work Institution understands climate change risks/opportunities integrates these into all local government decision-making criteria

6. Mitigation and adaptation

Adaptation primary focus, with mitigation given only cursory attention Strategies or plans developed for both, but considered as largely separate issues Synergies and contradictions of mitigation and adaptation understood by institution and reflected in climate action plans, OCPs and ICSPs.

Next table: Policy and Plan Formulation

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