Here's what we've been up to lately:

Facilitating a global learning partnership with Climate Investment Funds

CBI has been facilitating a Transformational Change Learning Partnership (TCLP) for the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), an innovative evaluation effort the organization is launching in conjunction with its 10th anniversary. The CIF is an $8 billion partnership that makes investments in renewable energy, forest conservation, sustainable forest management, climate adaptation, and resilience in developing countries. The core partners of the CIF are developed and developing country governments, the World Bank, and regional multilateral development banks. Representatives of civil society, the private sector, and indigenous peoples are consulted on the CIF’s governance and participate in investment programs.

Since 2009, the CIF has pursued a goal of catalyzing transformational change in the countries where it invests, using an innovative approach to design and implement country investment programs. The TCLP’s goal is to provide independent and collaborative evaluation of the CIF’s efforts at transformational change, and generate actionable insights through the process. The TCLP is itself a novel effort to integrate a consultant-led independent evaluation with in-depth dialogue and reflection among a cross-section of CIF stakeholders.

Since March, Senior Mediator Catherine Morris and Managing Director David Fairman have been facilitating the work of the TCLP, under the guidance of the CIF Evaluation and Learning Team, and in close collaboration with independent evaluation teams from ITAD and the Overseas Development Institute. At an October TCLP workshop, stakeholders explored the evaluation teams’ preliminary findings, identified outstanding questions for further investigation, and began the work of distilling “headline” insights for the CIF and other global climate finance institutions. The process will culminate in a synthesis report to be presented at the CIF’s 10th anniversary meetings early in 2019.

Photo credit: Satyam Joshi/USAIDCC BY-ND 2.0


Facilitating a stakeholder process at Lowry Landfill Superfund site

Senior Associate Ryan Golten is working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its state regulatory partner, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, to facilitate a collaborative approach to a complicated, controversial Superfund site in Aurora, Colorado. The parties, including the responsible entities and local advocacy groups, are working together to determine whether the site is effectively containing the groundwater contamination as it is designed to do, and, if not, to outline the necessary path forward with relevant stakeholders through the regulatory process. The parties are developing collaborative approaches to answer complex, hydrogeological questions with input from a deeply-concerned and informed group of local stakeholders and their technical advisors. After years of mounting concern, EPA intends to make a decision regarding the effectiveness of the current approach while charting a new path of collaboration and trust-building with partners and affected communities.


Launching an international challenge for breast cancer research ideas

CBI has been serving as the principal coordinator and facilitator to the California Breast Cancer Research Program (CBCRP) on a five-year effort to uncover and fund innovative research ideas for preventing breast cancer. CBCRP is the largest state-funded breast cancer research effort in the U.S. and has awarded more than $280 million in research funds to institutions in California. This fall, CBCRP launched an international challenge to surface research ideas with support from CBI Director of Communications Kristi Kienholz and Associate Julia Golomb. CBI mediators also worked with CBCRP this year to convene a Steering Committee that will guide the development of the program’s research priorities, based on ideas from the challenge, examination of other research efforts, and guidance from advisors, researchers, breast cancer advocates, and community members. Over the next several years, Senior Mediator Gina Bartlett and Senior Associate Laura Sneeringer will facilitate the meetings and work of the Steering Committee that will determine how $15 million in grant funding will be disseminated in California for breast cancer research.


Negotiating collaborative groundwater governance in California's North Sacramento Valley

CBI practitioners have been assisting local agencies in California with water supply, water management, and land use authority to negotiate and form legal agreements to collaboratively manage groundwater in compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). The SGMA, signed into law in October 2014, requires a regulatory framework for groundwater management and the formation of local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs).  Senior Associate Tania Carlone helped one of three groundwater basins in Butte County reach an important milestone in September. Through a facilitated mutual gains approach, three public agencies successfully negotiated a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Agreement establishing a new public agency, the Wyandotte Creek GSA. The JPA empowers commercial agricultural and rural residential groundwater stakeholders to sit on the JPA board of directors as full voting members along with representatives of the three signatory agencies. The agreement also calls for the establishment of a robust multi-party committee whose role is to advise the JPA board on a full range of groundwater management policy and planning issues in the basin. Tania is leading similar collaborative water governance negotiations in two adjacent groundwater basins in the North Sacramento Valley.

Photo credit: USDAgov


Assessing government institutional capacity to build collaborative partnerships

Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Indigenous Partnerships Office was established to find new ways for the federal government to engage with indigenous peoples on issues related to natural resource development, particularly through early and ongoing engagement around energy infrastructure. As the office approached the end of its first mandate, NRCan approached Michael Brown, Director, Canada Practice and Senior Mediator, to evaluate its ability to build collaborative partnerships. Michael undertook an assessment of the office’s capacity to build such partnerships, primarily with indigenous groups; identified broad lessons learned; and provided recommendations to strengthen NRCan’s collaborative capacity. Because this assessment was internally-focused, a more extensive process involving key partners could follow, documenting lessons learned and developing agreed-upon recommendations for improvement.

Photo credit: Bold Frontiers, CC BY 2.0 


Crafting a framework to assess impacts of offshore wind on marine mammals and turtles

Co-sponsored by the New England Aquarium and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, CBI facilitated a workshop in late May of world-renowned marine scientists from the U.S. and UK, environmental NGOs, regulators, public stakeholders, and offshore wind leaseholders to inform the development of a scientific research framework to assess impacts of offshore wind on marine mammals and turtles in the Northeast. In the workshop, which was facilitated by Managing Director Patrick Field and Associate Rebecca Gilbert, participants discussed current knowledge of the effects of offshore wind development on marine mammals and turtles; examined existing European studies that have sought to measure such impacts; identified potential research questions and hypotheses; and reviewed possible analytical, statistical, and data collection methods. Once the framework is complete, it could be applied to other offshore wind development along the Atlantic coast.

Photo credit: Oregon State UniversityCC BY-SA 2.0


Managing conflict around pipeline construction

CBI and Environmental Resources Management are undertaking a joint effort to convene stakeholders from diverse sectors in early 2019 to discuss how better to prevent, mitigate, and resolve conflict during the construction of natural gas and oil pipelines. Over the past decade, there has been increasing, sometimes vehement, opposition to the development of gas or oil pipeline projects in different areas of the U.S. This opposition has been fueled by concerns about global warming, impacts on natural and cultural resources, the alteration of the landscape, and broad cultural and political trends. When pipeline projects are approved, worries, complaints, and protest soon follow. Local communities, tribes, and state and federal agencies often react defensively in response. This CBI Board-funded project, which includes comprehensive stakeholder interviews and a literature review, will culminate in a white paper on “better practices.”


Developing a landscape approach to sustainable development

The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Myanmar asked CBI for coaching and strategic design support to help a diverse set of stakeholders in the Tanintharyi region develop and implement a shared vision of Sustainable Development Goals for use of the land at the landscape level.  CBI will work with WWF and other stakeholders to clarify how voluntary private sector transformation efforts can interact with local and national government actions and environmental advocacy to support long-term conservation, sustainable development, and human welfare goals.  Merrick Hoben, Washington Director, and Stacie Smith, Senior Mediator and Director of Workable Peace, will likely travel to Myanmar in the near future to help guide this effort and support WWF in launching this ambitious endeavor.

Photo credit: WWF