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

Evaluating local stakeholder engagement in worldwide climate projects

A CBI team is evaluating how effectively the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) have engaged local stakeholders in their programs and projects. Established in 2008, the $8 billion CIF is currently the largest set of multilateral investments designed to address the challenges of climate change in developing countries. CIF’s constituent programs aim to promote renewable energy; conserve forests; and make infrastructure, land use, and livelihoods more resilient to climate change. After a decade of operations, the CIF is undertaking a process to determine what it has accomplished and learned. CBI was selected to assess how effectively the CIF has engaged local stakeholders in program planning and implementation and to what extent stakeholders have benefitted from involvement with the CIF. CBI has established an evaluation methodology, is now conducting a portfolio review, and will undertake case studies this summer and produce a set of reports in the fall. By the end of 2018, the CBI evaluation team -- Managing Director David Fairman, Senior Mediators Michele Ferenz and Catherine Morris, and Senior Associate Toby Berkman, with support from Canada-based evaluation expert Andy Rowe -- aims to produce actionable lessons and insights.


Training women negotiators

Senior Associate Carri Hulet has partnered with Stacy Heen Lennon of X Squared to develop and deliver trainings in negotiation designed specifically for women and organizations seeking to create a more gender-aware negotiating environment. In April, Carri trained nearly 50 women (and one brave man) at the Washington D.C. offices of Conservation International. The training integrated standard Mutual Gains curriculum, such as differentiating positions from interests and using objective criteria to address concerns about fairness, with work on identity, implicit bias, stereotype threat, and recognizing and using different sources of power. The post-training surveys gave the training high marks and identified additional negotiation challenges to address in upcoming trainings.


Preventing violence and intimidation in the Sayaxché, Guatemala palm industry

The palm oil industry in Central America is no stranger to human rights abuses. Once companies acknowledge their transgressions, the hard part follows: helping those same companies walk the path to accountability and responsible production. A controversial Guatemalan company in the spotlight, REPSA, recently turned this corner. Senior management committed to driving implementation of a new Policy to Prevent Violence and Intimidation, aiming to make it a centerpiece of the company’s social commitments. In partnership with The Forest Trust, Senior Mediator Merrick Hoben designed an applied, dynamic approach to build capacity to meet the new commitments. The approach was tailored to first engage senior management and then production-level leadership in the remote Sayaxché region of the Petén. Through a series of workshops and internal dialogues, the managers clarified core business values, built staff skill for engaging communities, and strengthened the company’s grievance mechanism, so that communities can use it to hold REPSA accountable for effective implementation. CBI will likely use this applied training model in the future, given its proven practicality and impact.


Capturing stakeholder perspectives on offshore wind in the Carolinas

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) manages planning and leasing activities for offshore wind energy development in federal waters off the coasts of North and South Carolina. During the past few years, some stakeholders have expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of offshore wind development, but others have raised concerns about changing ocean views and expressed apprehension about negative effects on property values and tourism-based economies. BOEM engaged CBI's Managing Director Patrick Field and Senior Associate Tushar Kansal to help explore, detail, and capture local and state stakeholders’ perspectives on this issue. At the heart of CBI’s work were confidential conversations with approximately 30 key stakeholders, including local government, state government, neighborhood associations, businesses, and environmental advocates. These conversations sought to identify the range of interests and concerns, and to determine if there is a better way to identify wind energy areas that are acceptable to most stakeholders. CBI produced a report highlighting diverse perspectives concerning renewable energy, economic issues, visual and viewshed concerns, identity issues, cultural and protected resources, and opportunities to mitigate stakeholders' concerns. CBI also provided process options that BOEM and its state partners could explore for moving forward. CBI's report and suggested steps forward will shape BOEM's approach for proceeding with leasing for offshore wind development in federal waters off the coasts of North and South Carolina.


Resilient by Design Bay Area reaches milestone in international design competition to manage sea level rise

Resilient by Design (RbD) is an international design competition that brings together design teams from around the world to grapple with land use, housing, and transportation in the face of climate change and sea level rise. CBI Senior Associate Carri Hulet helped RbD’s international jury select the design teams that would advance to the second phase of the competition, which focused on research of presented ideas. In May, Senior Mediator Gina Bartlett facilitated the jury deliberation to recognize the contribution of the nine teams that made it through the competition and created a design for a San Francisco Bay project. This deliberation was followed by a world café, with more than 200 participants from the Bay community, designed to identify lessons learned and the path to implementation. Building off the world café, this summer CBI will facilitate a strategic planning effort to transform these innovative designs into actual projects with stakeholder and financial support.


Enhancing fisheries and aquaculture governance in Southeast Asia

In spring 2018, Managing Director David Fairman and Senior Mediator Ona Ferguson led two workshops for the Southeast Asia Fisheries and Aquaculture Initiative (SAFAI) on aquaculture sustainability. This effort is led by former Secretary of State John Kerry and supported jointly by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. SAFAI’s goal is to meaningfully accelerate fisheries and aquaculture sustainability in five Southeast Asian Countries: Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Thailand. The CBI team led a discussion session with Secretary Kerry and leaders of the global aquaculture and fisheries industry in Boston. Two weeks later, they facilitated a two-day meeting in Bangkok of 30 people with expertise related to Southeast Asian fisheries and aquaculture. Participants in both sessions shared their insights into ways these five countries can best make progress on the sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture. Secretary Kerry and the SAFAI project team will work to implement strategies developed in Bangkok.

Photo credit: Jonathan MuhiudeenCC BY-SA 3.0


Rebuilding Nicholas County schools mediation process

In October 2017, Senior Mediator Stacie Nicole Smith and Senior Associate Tushar Kansal were hired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to design and lead a consensus building effort to develop an acceptable and workable plan for rebuilding three schools in Nicholas County, West Virginia. The schools had been destroyed by flooding in June 2016. The County Board of Education had proposed to use the FEMA recovery money to consolidate all three schools, along with county’s other high school and its career and technical center, in a centralized location in the county. That plan would have removed the flood-affected middle and high school from a town at the southeast edge of the county, which residents felt would devastate their community, economy, and opportunities for development. The West Virginia Board of Education rejected the county’s consolidated plan, a decision affirmed by the West Virginia Supreme Court in August 2017. Having reached an impasse, FEMA reached out to CBI. After conducting a situation assessment in the fall of 2017, Smith and Kansal convened a mediation process between the West Virginia Board of Education and the Nicholas County Board of Education, involving three 1-3-day negotiation sessions and a county-wide public meeting -- attended by more than 250 people -- to collect input on a draft proposal. In April, the mediation team proposed an approach that would rebuild a community middle and high school near their previous locations, while relocating the county’s career and technical center with the other middle and high school to a comprehensive campus in the county’s center. This carefully balanced approach was acceptable to the parties. It was codified into a revised plan and swiftly approved by the full boards of the Nicholas County Board of Education, the West Virginia Board of Education, and the state’s School Building Authority.


Developing a framework to address post-conflict land claims in the Philippines

Senior Mediator Michael Brown recently led an assessment for the United Nations Development Programme of post-conflict land and property issues in the southern Philippines and developed a framework to address claims and disputes in the bombed-out City of Marawi. Marawi was overrun by an ISIS-inspired group in 2017, and almost 200,000 residents were displaced in the five-month military conflict that followed. Today, as residents return to the city, conflict over land is a major risk factor for renewed violence. Beyond the recent displacement, historical land dispossession has been a source of grievance and a rally point for violent separatism in Marawi and other Muslim-majority areas of Mindanao. With CBI support, a governmental Sub-Committee on Land and Natural Resources created a framework for land dispute resolution. The framework includes three key elements: 1) determination of legitimate claimants; 2) reparation for loss or damage of property due to war; and 3) compensation for loss or damage to land and property due to re-construction efforts. The framework should guide the government and the international community in addressing this complex set of problems. CBI expects to continue to be involved in this effort.