Exploring sub-national support for climate change and sustainability

Date of the resource

May 2013

Author of the resource

Sustainability East (the equivalent of SWM in the East of England and also a member of Climate UK)

Purpose of the resource

Sustainability East and the Environment Agency have undertaken this collaborative project to investigate and generate a report on whether providing subnational support for climate change and sustainability could strengthen progress on these agendas across the East of England. In particular, it asks:

  • In the context of rapid and radical change, how are strategic organisations being supported to continue to work on climate change and sustainability?
  • Can localism’s new partnerships, including Local Enterprise Partnerships, Local Nature Partnerships and Health and Wellbeing Boards be more effectively supported to realise their potential to strengthen local action on climate change?
  • How can gaps in support best be filled?
The study concludes that strategic organisations and partnerships should be actively supported at the subnational level to address sustainability and climate change. The provision of support should:
  • Be conscious of the contemporary context – The provision of subnational support would need to be shaped to operate under a new prevailing context. This report considers localism, decentralisation and the drive for growth as the context for pursuing climate change and sustainability outcomes.
  • Focus on the things that will help – This study highlights the areas where support could develop the capacity of an area to progress sustainable development and climate change objectives. These include networks, shared evidence, collaborative facilitation, communication and outreach, strategic coordination and capacity building initiatives. Gathering intelligence on the efforts to address climate change amongst local areas would be helpful in scaling up innovation or supporting and inspiring areas to participate.
  • Utilise current and available skills, expertise and institutions – Consideration should be given to how best to utilise existing bodies, institutions and networks to deliver the types of support required in the most efficient and effective way.
  • Build on the existing strengths of the area – Support for strategic organisations and partnerships should ensure that the area and its locales consolidate and develop its strong tradition of partnership working, innovation and collaboration between industry and academia.
  •  The creation of a flexible, facilitated partnership could provide the greatest value and credibility – The providers of subnational support could also be utilised by Government as an efficient mechanism through which to gain intelligence, information and evidence on how a broader area is responding to the challenges and maximising the opportunities presented by climate change and sustainability.

What SWM liked

We supported Sustainability East in this research through providing information about sustainability, structures, and issues in the West Midlands. The structured analysis of stakeholders in the East of England has generated findings on how sustainability is currently being addressed at sub-regional level, the gaps to address, and recommendations on how a sustainability body could address these. These are equally applicable in other regions, including the West Midlands.


Exploring sub-national support for sustainability and climate change – May 2013

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