CBI’s vision is a world in which the most complex problems are solved through collaboration. In this era of high polarization on pressing public issues, creating strong partnerships to meet public challenges is more urgent, and more difficult. At CBI, we have been discussing the need for what we are calling "breakthrough collaboration" to help groups and organizations work together in situations where trust is low and there is no shared vision, yet the stakeholders know they need to work together over the long haul to tackle the challenge at hand. In this article, Managing Director David Fairman and Associate Managing Director Stacie Smith present CBI’s preliminary thinking on what it takes to advance breakthrough collaboration, and how the key ingredients can be blended to create sustainable solutions to seemingly intractable problems. We welcome your input as we continue to explore what it takes to achieve breakthrough collaboration!
In humanitarian crises and post-conflict environments across the globe, land – a scarce and valuable resource – can be a flash point for reigniting conflict, compromising economic recovery and undermining peace. In recent years, member states and United Nations (UN) leaders expressed concerns that land issues in conflict situations were not getting enough attention, and launched a “re-think” on how the UN engages around land and conflict. The UN retained Michael Brown (now Senior Mediator at CBI) to build consensus for a major initiative to develop a new systemwide approach to land and conflict. Michael facilitated agreement and buy-in across 18 different UN agencies and supported drafting of the new approach, resulting in The United Nations and Land and Conflict Secretary General’s Note, an important document that articulates a shared vision and approach for UN staff and national stakeholders, released in March 2019.
CBI Senior Mediator Carri Hulet shares insights on managed retreat, or relocation due to climate change, while at a recent conference at Columbia University focused on this topic. After CBI launched the Climigration Network in 2015 to encourage conversation among a small number of people who were then exploring managed retreat, Carri was pleased to witness hundreds of people at the conference discussing and innovating around retreat strategies. In this article, Carri reflects on the evolution of the climigration field of practice, recent progress, and how to grapple with the complicated emotions that accompany this challenging issue – for herself as well as millions of residents who are facing tough decisions about whether to stay or go, and how to go if that is the choice.
Building on the development of Basin Roundtables for each of the state’s river basins, Colorado's 2015 water plan set a goal of developing stream or integrated water management plans for many of the state's rivers. Now in full swing, these efforts are attempting to meet a range of stakeholder needs by seeking consensus-based solutions such as operational changes, infrastructure improvements, and restoration alternatives. CBI Senior Mediator Ryan Golten and CBI Senior Consultant Dan Birch reflect on the challenge not just of technically integrated planning, but of the human dimension of collaboratively managing water.
Many municipalities are developing sustainability plans aimed at building local resilience to climate change impacts. The success of these initiatives is highly dependent on effective community engagement – and many leaders are realizing that they need to invest in networks and facilitate conversations to help build a culture of understanding and action. In this post, CBI Senior Mediator Ona Ferguson outlines questions that municipal leaders can employ to determine the most effective community engagement approach for their region.