2023 Colorado Wildlife & Transportation Summit—A Win for Wildlife Mitigation

by Julia Oleksiak, CDR Program Associate

On October 16 & 17, the Colorado Wildlife & Transportation Alliance, in partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Department of Transportation, held the second Colorado Wildlife & Transportation Summit in Castle Rock, CO. Objectives of the 2023 Summit included highlighting successes of the Alliance since its creation in 2018, capitalizing on the momentum of recent policies, and identifying needs, gaps, and opportunities for long-term and proactive approaches to wildlife-vehicle collision mitigation in Colorado. CDR’s Melissa Bade, Daniel Estes, and Julia Oleksiak led planning efforts and helped to implement the Alliance’s vision for a successful Summit.

Dozens of participants seated during a presentation. (Credit: CWTA)

The Summit brought together partners from several federal, state, and local agencies, tribes, and organizations—including Summit sponsors GOCO and Muley Fanatic Foundation. Over two days, the Summit provided attendees with educational presentations, facilitated discussions, a field trip to two wildlife underpasses in the I-25 corridor between Colorado Springs and Castle Rock, and opportunities to build meaningful partnerships.

This event included:

  • 110 attendees
  • 20 presenters
  • 45 different organizations/agencies represented
    (including 4 other states, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, FHWA, BLM, NPS, USFS, USFWS, and a number of counties)
  • 2 field trip locations along the I-25 Gap Project

As presenter Dan Gibbs, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, summarized, “It was exciting to see the diverse partners come together and hear about their interest, passions, and commitment to help the state of Colorado address the drastically high rates of wildlife-vehicle collisions.”

Summit attendees approaching a wildlife crossing. (Credit: CWTA)

Leading up to the event, CDR facilitated Summit Planning Committee meetings, coordinated with Alliance co-chairs, and supported event logistics. CDR has been involved in the collaboration and coalition-building between wildlife and transportation officials in Colorado since the first Summit in 2017, which resulted in the formation of the Colorado Wildlife & Transportation Alliance. CDR is proud to continue to support these efforts leading to the safe passage of people and wildlife in Colorado and beyond.

Link to CPW press release for more information.

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Sri Lanka: A Mediation Case Study Over the Years

by Julia Oleksiak, CDR Program Associate

CDR has long enjoyed strong relationships with mediators and other stakeholders in Sri Lanka, where a well regarded national mediation program supports communities through local challenges. Our team recently updated the program’s approach to training and is proud to be a part of its continued development and expansion.


Throughout the history of Sri Lanka, mediation has served as an essential form of dispute resolution. The small island nation’s relationship with mediation dates back millennia—from village councils addressing disputes between neighbors to village tribunals, rural courts, and conciliation boards. In 1988, the Sri Lankan Parliament passed the Mediation Boards Act No. 72, creating a new legal framework for the administration and implementation of dispute resolution across the country and establishing an independent Mediation Boards Commission. Since then, the Commission’s role has been to appoint and oversee a network of mediators which make up Community Mediation Boards (CMBs) across the island.

Relationships between various mediation boards and their oversight bodies.
Credit: Mediation Boards Commission

Current Framework

Interest-based mediation continues to be a cornerstone of Sri Lankan society today. It is used as a form of community-based dispute resolution in many important contexts ranging from economic hardship, conflicts arising in the aftermath of the civil war, as well as continued ethno-religious friction. 

The Ministry of Justice and Mediation Boards Commission, in close partnership with The Asia Foundation, have trained and supported mediators to resolve hundreds of thousands of disputes across Sri Lanka over the past 30 years. The alternative dispute resolution program has demonstrated adaptability and resilience through the creation and implementation of special boards SMBs to address pressing issues surrounding the 2004 tsunami disaster, land disputes following the civil war, and commercial disputes. CDR has been supporting the flagship mediation program with The Asia Foundation for decades including the development of Special Land Mediation Boards in 2014.

Sri Lanka’s mediation program by the numbers.
Credit: P. Teese/CDR Associates

2023 Efforts

In the Spring of 2023, CDR Principal Jonathan Bartsch and Program Associate Patrick Teese worked closely with The Asia Foundation, The British Council, and other stakeholders to design workshops with the goal of strengthening the existing mediation program and infusing creativity and energy into current Sri Lanka mediation training and practice. In May, Jonathan traveled to Colombo to deliver a five-day Advanced Mediation Training and a seminar on Global Trends in Mediation. The Mediation Training Officers participating in the training received a refresher on the foundations of third-party assistance and an introduction to a range of mediation applications and approaches that move beyond the individual resolution of disputes. The seminar served as an opportunity to reinforce the success of the mediation program in Sri Lanka and introduce the idea of developing a renewed vision and approach to integrating mediation and conflict engagement strategies into other areas of practice.


Mediation for community disputes is integrated into the fabric of Sri Lanka and it is critical to continue to find ways to support further development of the program, which currently stands at a crossroads. With 30+ years of experience in building and supporting mediation programs and through the development of a long-standing relationship with Sri Lanka’s background, context, and mediation system, CDR is proud to help create a revised plan and approach needed for the program to continue to thrive. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Sri Lanka Community Mediation Programme, The Asia Foundation and its partners, and aim to apply the latest expertise and lessons learned to future updates to the program as well as in other national contexts.

We encourage you to share your thoughts on this effort and article with Julia (joleksiak@mediate.org).

This article was featured in the October 2023 edition of CDR’s newsletter, “Talking Points.” Sign up here to receive the next copy!

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