Consensus Building

Consensus building (or collaborative problem solving) is basically mediation with a large number of parties, and often a large number of issues. It is commonly used in complex public policy and environmental conflicts, although it can be used in other contexts as well.

Pros and Cons of Consensus Building

Frank Dukes talks about the pros and cons of using collaborative processes to build consensus on environmental issues.
Frank Dukes, director of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia, talks about the importance of public participation in conflict resolution processes. Bringing community members together allows them to build coalitions and move toward consensus on important public policy issues. In addition, those who participate in making decisions feel more connected to their communities and have a sense of responsibility and ownership.
Frank Blechman believes searching for consensus is not always an efficient use of people's time.

Ins and Outs of Consensus Building

Larry Susskind discusses how he measures success in his consensus building work.
Frank Dukes of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia talks about the dangers of an intervenor assuming he or she knows what a particular conflict is about.
Frank Dukes describes how people on opposite sides of a contentious issue can work together as a team to build consensus.

Cross-Cultural Applications of Consensus Building Processes

Consensus-building was initially developed in the U.S. and other Western democracies. Does it work in other cultures and political systems?Larry Susskind talks about how to institute the American model of consensus building in a variety of cultural settings.

Case Examples of Consensus Building

Larry Susskind talks about consensus building and mediation in the Middle East.
Kristin Clay talks about a successful advocacy campaign designed to encourage an Indonesian paper mill to practice sustainable forestry.
Frank Dukes describes a communication technique that he sometimes used in particularly tense consensus building processes.
Julian Portilla and Gachi Tapiaof Partners for Democratic Change International, recount conducting workshops to deal with land occupation conflicts in Argentina's Iguazu province.
Julian Portilla and Gachi Tapiaof Partners for Democratic Change International continue discussing land conflict in Argentina's Iguazu province.
Efrain Martinez describes the remarkable response of Jasper, TX to a violent hate crime.