>>  Grievance mechanism established in Brazil mine disaster: David Plumb facilitated a workshop in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, with top officials at the Samarco Mine and its shareholders, BHP Billiton and Vale, to help establish a grievance mechanism in the wake of a major mining waste disaster. Samarco's tailings dam burst in November 2015, killing 19 people and spewing mining waste over 600 kilometers of the River Doce, as well as the ocean at the river's mouth. Together with other consultants convened by Dutch-based ACCESS Facility, CBI helped BHP Billiton and Vale structure core elements of a grievance handling process and ombudsman function, one of the requirements of an agreement between the two companies and Brazilian officials that also involves investing billions of dollars to aid economic and environmental recovery in the region.

>>  Engagements on Honduras palm oil and land conflicts lead to road map: From 2014 to 2016, CBI staff, led by Merrick Hoben, guided a participatory evaluation and joint problem-solving process among the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the private sector investment arm of the World Bank) and concerned stakeholders regarding violent land disputes centered around a large palm oil operation in the Aguan Valley of Honduras.

In January 2014, the IFC’s accountability mechanism (Compliance Advisor Ombudsman Office - CAO) found IFC’s investment in its client company – Dinant, a major Central American palm oil producer – out of compliance with key human rights and community engagement requirements. IFC asked CBI to help evaluate dispute resolution potential and guide community engagement as part of its response. CBI subsequently designed a participatory “road map” (building from broad stakeholder consultation) that aimed to address specific company responsibilities, as well as underlying structural issues of criminal impunity, land conflict, and inclusive development endemic to the Balo Aguan region. CBI then provided dispute resolution capacity building to both senior government officials and leading civil society actors as part of a stepwise capacity building and joint problem-solving approach. The overall effort has gained broad recognition and support, and now rests with the Honduran government to tackle key sovereign concerns with support from international development cooperants. CBI may be asked to provide continued guidance on this challenging and high profile case.

>>  CBI makes recommendations on mediating energy sourcing conflicts in Nepal: Michele Ferenz, Toby Berkman, David Fairman, and CBI Global Network member Michael Brown completed a project for the World Bank on how to prevent and mediate conflicts related to energy sourcing between the government and community groups in Nepal. Despite abundant hydropower potential, Nepal suffers from frequent power cuts and relies on fuel imports to partially address shortages. Improving access and reliability of energy services presents its own set of challenges. Among these are conflicts with local communities over siting, and compensation and benefit-sharing associated with the development of infrastructure, such as major transmission lines. CBI conducted two missions to Nepal and issued a report on Options for Conflict Prevention and Mitigation for Energy Projects, which provides recommendations on both short- and long-term actions to (1) improve provisions and instruments for compensation, rehabilitation, and benefit-sharing and (2) improve communication and consultation practices and grievance mechanisms.

>>  Course helps UN senior staff lead on SDG implementation: Translating the United Nation’s (UN’s) 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into concrete, crosscutting plans and actions on the ground is an enormous task for leaders in government, business, and civil society around the world. The UN has committed to play its part by providing advice, analysis, programs, and advocacy at national and global levels. To fulfill this commitment, UN representatives will need to be effective not only in their technical and advocacy roles, but also as conveners and facilitators who bring together national and global stakeholders, help them integrate economic, environmental, and social goals, and resolve conflicts along the way.

Building on our 20 years of experience with UN development system and sustainable development issues, CBI has partnered with the United Nations System Staff College’s Knowledge Center for Sustainable Development (UNSSC) to create a new course to enhance the skills of UN senior staff who work closely with counterpart national and global leaders. The course, Stakeholder Engagement and Consensus Building for Sustainable Development, integrates best practice in teaching stakeholder assessment, engagement, and consensus building with “live” case studies on SDG implementation presented by their protagonists. David Fairman, Michele Ferenz, Toby Berkman, and Sam Kumasaka worked closely with our UNSSC partners to develop material and invite speakers. In reviews of the first delivery of the course this past October in Cambridge, every participant praised the course for providing them with tangible tools – including goal framing, mutual gains negotiation, and joint fact finding principles – that they can apply to bring people together to tackle SDG challenges and seize opportunities. CBI and UNSSC will be presenting the course again this month in Bonn, Germany.

>>  CBI to launch campaign on role of ADR in western natural resource disputes: With support from a grant from the American Arbitration Association and the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (AAA-ICDR) Foundation, Gina Bartlett is launching a campaign this spring to explain to legislators, agency directors, and NGO leaders in the West the critical role that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) can play in advancing progress in natural resources disputes. The campaign highlights debates that are surfacing as natural resources become increasingly scarce and provides examples of agreements that have been crafted with the support of ADR. Outreach will include presentations at conferences, meetings with members of the legislature, a social media campaign, and targeted communications with key constituencies, all supported by a video that makes the case for ADR. To hear some of Gina’s thoughts on how to best structure a multi-stakeholder process to build agreement on management of scarce natural resources, read her recent article.

>>  Chesapeake Bay nonprofit networks work together to build capacity: In late 2016, Catherine Morris and Tushar Kansal facilitated the coming together of nonprofit networks in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to build the collective capacity of local nonprofits to tackle complex issues and challenges of local importance: – e.g., the externalities of industrial agriculture, exurban sprawl, and the dearth of healthy food and green space accessible to inner city residents. CBI was hired by The Chesapeake Bay Funders Network (CBFN), which is funding this overall project, to design and lead a process to bring these networks of nonprofits together; develop a vision, mission, and work plan for their joint work; and begin collaborating to tackle their self-selected local challenges. Following CBI’s assistance, the regional networks each now have a structure, work plan, and $50,000 in seed funding from CBFN, to support their first year of working together. The networks involved are: Anacostia (Washington D.C.), East Baltimore (Maryland), Lower Eastern Shore (Maryland), and South Mountain (Pennsylvania).

>>  CBI leads trainings for BPDA facilitators: Toby Berkman and Pat Field delivered a series of trainings on facilitation skills, dealing with angry participants, and meeting design to more than 50 staff members of the planning and development divisions of the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA, formerly the Boston Redevelopment Authority). The BPDA is responsible for running approximately 300 public meetings across Boston neighborhoods each year, wresting with challenging issues, including site design, neighborhood change, affordable housing, transportation, and traffic. CBI wove existing training materials together into a new, dynamic curriculum, using tailored exercises, mock public meetings, videos, and intensive small group practice, to build on the BPDA’s existing deep talent pool of facilitation skills. The trainings provided great opportunities for peer-to-peer learning from BPDA's extremely talented and experienced facilitators.