During his tenure as Governor of the State of California from 2003 to january 2011, Arnold Schwarzenegger was responsible for signing into law groundbreaking legislation that translated the Kyoto Protocol into Californian law. This and other initiatives is what led President Obama to ask Governor Schwarzenegger to obtain similar commitments from thirty other US States.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s success in implementing action at the sub-national level, and his ability to demonstrate the potential to scale this impact by replication at the sub-national level is ultimately what gave birth to the R20 Regions of Climate Action.
In December 2009, after evaluating the failure of the COP15 to agree on the practical means to limit carbon emissions, Gov. Schwarzenegger, with the support from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, decided to create a new coalition of Regions committed to action. He met with a number of heads of regions, including Governor Uduaghan from Delta State, Nigeria, President Charet from the Province of Quebec, Canada, President Huchon and Vice President Michèle Sabban from Region Ile de France, and 17 other representatives from other Regions, who all decided to create R20 Regions of Climate Action.
In September 2010, Governor Schwarzenegger organized the Third Global Governors Climate Summit in Sacramento and launched the R20 Charter, which was signed by representatives of Regions, national governments, NGOs, foundations, private companies and finance institutions. In September 2011, the First constitutive General Assembly of R20 marked the official creation of the NGO. Linda Adam, The California Environmental Protection Agency State Secretary, was officially elected President of the R20 Board and Terry Tamminen was nominated as R20 Special Advisor to Governor Schwarzenegger, the Honorary Founding Chair of R20.
In January 2012, Dr. Christophe Nuttall, Director of the UNDP Hub for Innovative Partnership, officially joined R20 as Executive Director.
From 2013 to 2017, Michèle Sabban took on the R20 presidency.
In June 2017, Magnus Berntsson, President of the Regional Council of Västra Götaland and President of AER, was elected as the new R20 president.
Today, R20 is comprised of R20 Regions of Climate Action Association and R20 Foundation, which work as two complimentary entities. The former carries out day-to-day operational duties, and the latter manages important investment decisions.
The R20 Foundation is the entity responsible for almost all aspects of funding of the R20 Association and its operations. Its objective is to drive the financial vision and the implementation of bankable portfolios of low carbon and climate resilient sub-national infrastructure projects.
The R20 Foundation was created at the request of a number of investors interested to invest in the R20 ecosystem of blended finance. With a Board of Directors composed of green finance leaders, the R20 Foundation meets the demands of development banks, sovereign funds, private bans, private equities, family offices and pension funds.
The R20 Association is legally structured as a Swiss association. On behalf of the General Assembly of Members, the Governing Board carries out all acts that further the purpose of the organization and is responsible for managing the organization’s business. The current Board is composed of: