Climate change impacts are multi-dimensional, affecting countries, people and sectors differently, and requiring governance systems to evolve beyond current models. Governance at all levels — international, national and local — must take an integrated and coherent approach that recognises the full scale of the challenge and acts to address it.Climate actions, for both mitigation and adaptation, happen at country level, by local governments, communities, businesses, non-government organisations and individuals. A ‘whole-of-society’ approach, in which people well outside government embrace the paradigm shift behind Agenda 2030, is key to achieving policy that tackles development and climate priorities simultaneously. Climate risk assessment and management is needed to inform policy and programme decisions on climate action, and should be gender responsive, capturing disproportionate impacts on women or men to inform adaptation responses.Despite the theoretical linkages between development frameworks and across sectors, policy coherence and practice is inadequate. Institutional architecture and capabilities for adaptation and mitigation also show gaps at national, regional and local levels. In particular, the most vulnerable groups’ voices are missing in climate policymaking processes.Climate finance mechanisms’ efficacy in promoting low-carbon development and building resilience will depend on national institutions’ capabilities to prioritise, coordinate and monitor where the costs and benefits of climate action fall, so as to avoid exclusion and marginalisation of vulnerable groups.