A Council of Governments (COG), or Regional Council is a public organization encompassing a multi-jurisdictional regional community. A COG serves local governments and the citizens in a region by dealing with issues and needs that cross city, town, county and even state boundaries. Mechanisms used to address these issues may include communication, planning, policy making, coordination, advocacy and technical assistance.
Regional Councils are prepared to foster regional cooperation to address tough cross cutting challenges at the dawn of the 21st century, including shaping balanced growth, overcoming intercommunity disparities and promoting sustainable economic development.
Six COG associations exist within the state of Arizona. In the urban areas, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and the Pima Association of Governments (PAG) are the regional agencies which also serve as the designated Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) for transportation planning. In the rural areas of Arizona, the COGs perform planning services and direct service functions, such as operating the Area Agency on Aging, the Head Start program, housing programs and employment programs.