Learn / Do Cohorts

Build capacity, peer relationships, and tangible outcomes

Cohorts are multi-month structured technical assistance training programs that guide communities toward tangible results. They offer a deep level of technical assistance and serve as a cost-effective alternative to project outsourcing. 

Cover Foundational and Cutting Edge Topics​

Build your Network with Like-Minded Communities

Receive Many Hours of Individual and Group Support

Build your Skills in the Climate Action Pathways

Free-to-member Cohorts

As a Member benefit, communities gain access to our annual cohort trainings.

Custom Cohorts

We also customize cohorts, offered in partnership with states, utilities, and universities.  Many of our custom cohorts and supported by university students.

100 Level

GHG Inventory and Forecasting Cohort

Setting a defensible baseline of GHG emissions is fundamental to both climate mitigation and adaptation.  Therefore, our GHG inventory and forecasting cohort is offered annually for members, and we enjoy strategic partnerships with states, universities, and utilities to offer cohorts specific to their locations.

Pathways Involved

Regional Climate Collaboratives (RCC)

Regional Climate Collaboratives (RCC) play a key role in bringing municipalities together to collectively tackle climate change.  This cohort introduces all five ICLEI pathways. Each participant will complete a collective action Roadmap to involve communities in collective action.

Pathways Involved

Sustainability Plan Cohort

This capacity-building cohort guides local governments through the development of a Sustainability Plan to address social, economic, and environmental elements of community development and management.

Pathways Involved

200 Level

Biodiversity Assessment Cohort

Among city networks, ICLEI holds a unique leadership role as the focal point for local and regional governments in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),  providing ICLEI USA members with access to a plethora of biodiversity resources, including the CitiesWithNature platform.  Participants develop Biodiversity Assessments that link health, equity, and climate through nature.

Pathways Involved

300 Level

Integrated Climate Action Plan Cohort

With a baseline GHG emissions inventory in hand, communities in this cohort move to developing an integrated climate action plan.  Tangible outcomes include:

  • Climate vulnerability assessment
  • GHG reduction targets
  • Climate adaptation goals
  • Climate adaptation and mitigation strategies
  • Stakeholder involvement strategies
  • Communication strategies
  • Narrative document for internal and external audiences

Pathways Involved

Supply Chain GHG Inventory Cohort

The Supply Chain GHG Inventory Cohort guides participants through the quantification of greenhouse gas emissions associated with local government purchasing. The inventory is a baseline to inform local government procurement to reduce environmental impact, create operational efficiency, and drive innovation.

Pathways Involved

400 Level

Consumption Based Emissions Inventory Cohort

Recognizing that GHG emissions occur within and outside a political border, local government participants will use Consumption-Based Emissions Inventory methods to quantify emissions and develop sustainable production and consumption strategies.

Pathways Involved

Forest and Tree Accounting Cohort

The Forest & Tree Carbon Accounting Cohort guides communities in the application of the Forestry Protocol, an appendix to the U.S. Community Protocol for GHG Emission Inventories.  Participants assess the emissions and removals of carbon through forestry and urban tree management. At the conclusion of the cohort session, participating communities will have a key element of the Agriculture, Forestry, and Land Use (AFOLU) sector of their community-wide GHG inventory.

Pathways Involved

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Cohort

The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that local and subnational governments are key stakeholders to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To better respond to what a city or region is doing to act on the SDGs, cities including Toyama, Shimokawa, and Kitakyushu in Japan, and New York City in the USA, pioneered the Voluntary Local Review (VLR) in 2018 as one mechanism to demonstrate local or subnational action toward a “Local2030 Agenda”. By aligning local sustainability actions and plans with the SDGs, cities can advance within a shared framework and communicate to the global community their progress.

Pathways Involved

See Past Custom Cohorts

2021 SDGs Cities Challenge

8 CITIES AND COUNTIES SELECTED FOR UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDG) ‘CHALLENGE’  July 14, 2021 [New York, USA]. Eight Local Governments (cities and counties) from

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Cohort Testimonials

Mountain Towns Cohort

“We had just started meeting as a cohort of governments to discuss resilience initiatives when we found out about the opportunity to have support from ICLEI through the MT2030 group.  The guidance and resources that ICLEI provided streamlined our process of creating GHG inventories for each city and the county.  At times, it was not easy to “herd cats” so to speak between governments and interns, but Tom showed infinite patience with our questions and extended timeframe due to COVID and an influx of new residents to our remote location in the Wood River Valley of Idaho.  Comparing each city showed surprising differences in the sources of emissions.  We are so excited by this foundation and the opportunity to use the information to develop a Climate Action Plan!  Already, stakeholders are incorporating emissions into decision-making such as evaluating options for recycling collection.  Clean energy goals have been adopted by several jurisdictions.  And, funding has been allocated to create a Regional Sustainability Manager!” 

Sharon Grant
Owner of Eco Edge Consulting and “Chief Cat Herder” for this process

Pennsylvania Local Climate Action Planning Cohort

"Working with the PADEP and ICLEI to create the greenhouse gas inventory for the City of York was very rewarding. Getting to collaborate with people who are passionate about combating climate change was inspiring and I felt the work I was doing was important. While it was sometimes a difficult task getting the necessary data, my persistence paid off. I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to complete meaningful work while having the flexibility of an online/work-from-home setting!"

Alissa Martin
Senior at Lebanon Valley College and participant in Pennsylvania Local Climate Action Planning Cohort

Indiana University Resilience Cohort

“[Without the Indiana University Resilience Cohort], we would not have had the internal capacity to complete GHG Inventory based on current staffing levels”

Lauren Travis
Assistant Director of Sustainability, City of Bloomington, IN

Zero Net Energy Cohort

"As a local government sustainability practitioner, the 2019 Zero Net Energy Cohort webinar series provided me with valuable and detailed expertise and case studies from professionals in the field that advanced our approach to zero net energy at the City of Fremont. The webinar format offered a fine balance of technical assessments of leading edge ZNE technologies and policies and practical discussions of the governmental, economic, and cultural considerations for implementation. This added knowledge will inform the Sustainability Team’s development of policy measures, local sustainability projects, and local building reach codes as the City continues to push towards its ambitious climate and sustainability goals."

Robbie Barton
Sustainability Assistant, City of Fremont, CA

SolSmart Cohort

“Working with ICLEI to achieve SolSmart designation showed us we are on the right track and that we should continue to work through the SolSmart roadmap. As a designated Silver community, we can strive to meet gold designation. SolSmart incentivizes the County to go further."

Heather Brown
Sustainability Coordinator, Sullivan County, NY

Indiana University Resilience Cohort

“I am so thankful for having ICLEI as a partner in the Resilience Cohort program. Their technical expertise and the platform they have for providing support exponentially increased our ability to guide Indiana communities on their path towards climate resilience and greenhouse gas mitigation.”

Andrea Marie Webster
Implementation Manager, Environmental Resilience Institute, Indiana University

SEEC Cohort

“The ICLEI-SEEC Cohort Training program was really useful, and we wouldn’t have been able to complete the inventory without it. Anytime we had a question, we were able to call up the ICLEI USA staff. The personal, one-on-one assistance was greatly helpful in walking through different problems and calculations.”

Noe Diaz
CivicSpark Fellow, Gateway Cities Council of Governments, Norwalk, CA

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