AbstractThe importance of local government for addressing environmental change, including climate change, was recognized at the 1992 Earth Summit. More so, coastal governance encompasses not only the actions of the state (which includes local governments), but also of other actors such as communities, businesses and civil society organizations. Solutions to improving coastal governance include the implementation of Integrated Coastal Management which also serves as means to plan and achieve climate change adaptation. This paper proposes the establishment of a framework and methodology to assess local coastal governance based on a composite of hierarchical metrics formed by different forms of capital and associated factors and indicators. The application of this methodology resulted in the description of a baseline for local coastal governance. This baseline is useful for informing different functional levels within local government, e.g. technical, managerial and political. The baseline consisted of a comprehensive assessment of the different forms of capitals furthered categorized by factors and measured by indicators of local coastal governance. The capitals approach and method for measuring governance is potentially repeatable and can identify progress towards longer-term coastal management and climate adaptation goals as well as areas requiring improvements. Ultimately, it can be developed into a self-assessment tool to help local government to think reflexively about how they are managing the coast and the climate risks impacting on coastal assets and people.