About the Forum [2020]

Advancing Adaptation Throughout California

The biennial California Adaptation Forum gathers the adaptation community from across California and beyond to foster knowledge exchange, innovation, and mutual support to create resilient communities and tackle our state’s most pressing climate change challenges. The Forum offers a series of engaging plenaries, sessions, workshops, tours, networking opportunities, and more to support our transition from adaptation awareness and planning to action on the ground.

Since we last convened for the 2018 California Adaptation Forum, communities across California continued to face catastrophic wildfires, devastating floods and mudslides, and record-breaking heat waves — sobering reminders of our urgent need to address the many climate impacts affecting our community members, local economies, and valuable ecosystems. At the same time, we have also seen tremendous strides and innovation in policymaking, research, community engagement practices, and on-the-ground implementation, giving us hope and tangible strategies to accelerate progress towards creating an adaptive and resilient California.

The 4th California Adaptation Forum will bring together a multi-disciplinary audience to:

  • Uplift voices from frontline communities, emerging youth leaders, and other underrepresented stakeholders;
  • Learn about emerging trends in the adaptation field — from new developments in finance and insurance markets to technological advancements and innovative strategies;
  • Showcase real-world examples of adaptation initiatives that have tangibly increased community resilience;
  • Highlight new legislation, funding programs, and financing mechanisms;
  • Present the latest tools and resources being deployed across the state; and
  • Provide opportunities for participants to reconnect with old colleagues and discover new partnerships.

Forum History

The Local Government Commission and the State of California organized the first California Adaptation Forum on August 19-20, 2014 in Sacramento. The 2014 Forum launched the statewide adaptation conversation by bringing together 800 local, regional and state leaders to form a community of action, committed to addressing California’s adaptation needs. The program featured cutting-edge policies, projects, programs and partnerships, as well as tools and strategies that address the challenges community leaders face in developing and implementing adaptation solutions.

The 2016 Forum followed up on the success of the 1st California Adaptation Forum and brought together over 500 climate change adaptation leaders from across California, the nation, and other countries. This gathering provided an opportunity for leaders from across the state to share information, discuss local activities and needs, identify new resources, and develop a statewide network of adaptation professionals.

The 2018 Forum took place August 27th-29th in Sacramento, and brought together nearly 800 leaders and practitioners over the course of three days to learn, share, and network with one another. The 2018 Forum elevated three core priorities: Embracing Change to Catalyze Innovation, Uplifting Underrepresented Voices, and Taking a Whole Systems Approach. The program, delivered by over 280 speakers, included 3 plenaries, 13 workshops, 40 sessions, 8 tool demonstrations, 5 tours, 10 networking events, and climate art installations. The Forum also served as a launchpad for sharing findings from California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment.

The 2020 California Adaptation Forum, which was originally planned for August 18-20, 2020 in Riverside, CA, has been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19. Organizers are closely monitoring the evolving situation and will provide additional information as soon as the new date is set.

Engaging a Multi-Disciplinary Audience

A significant factor in the success of the California Adaptation Forum is its appeal to leaders from a diverse range of sectors and disciplines. As with previous forums, we anticipate our 2020 audience will include elected officials, public and private sector leaders, tribal representatives, community-based organizations and nonprofits, and researchers from a range of sectors.

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    Air Quality
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    Biodiversity and Habitat Conservation
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    Equity and Justice
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    Emergency Management
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    Ocean and Coastal Management
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    Planning and Urban Design
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    Public Health
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