In mid- August, USAID awarded Tetra Tech and its partner CDR Associates a contract to work collaboratively with the Government of Liberia and its Land Commission to enhance their capacities to further implement the nation’s new Land Policy. This new contract is a follow-on to others in Liberia in which Tetra Tech and CDR were involved.
The new Land Policy outlines a process by which communities – principally composed of members of one ethnic group, but which may also include minorities from others – can apply for and receive government recognition of their right to occupy and manage their historic lands, and receive formal legal title of ownership. The policy is very progressive, especially for many countries in Africa where colonial powers or other elites often claimed and designated land belonging to ethnic communities as state land. This designation commonly disenfranchised members of ethnic communities from decision making about the management and use of their land, and often resulted in it being allocated to non-members or foreign concessions that reaped benefits of natural resources without local consultation, approval and little, if any, benefit sharing.
A major focus of the LGSA on which Tetra Tech, CDR, local Liberian partner organizations and the Land Commission will collaborate, involves providing technical and process assistance to the Commission and interested ethnic communities to complete the requirements for legal recognition of community land. Communities wishing to secure legal recognition are required to: 1) self-identify their members, which includes formally recognizing women, youth and minorities residing on community land as full-members: 2) negotiate and reach formal agreements with adjacent communities on common boundaries; and 3) establish an inclusive governance structure to make decisions about community land – such as land use, allocation, demarcation of internal land boundaries, form(s) of member ownership, sale or lease of community or individually held land, and relations with external parties, such as investors or concessions. Once these tasks have been accomplished, communities can formally apply to the Government for recognition of ownership and receive a title in the name of the community.
Tetra Tech, CDR and their local partners will provide Land Policy implementation process assistance, build Commission capacities to educate communities about land recognition procedures, help communities prepare to negotiate internally to recognize members and establish boundaries with neighbors, and design and implement acceptable land governance structures. As accomplishing these tasks will likely in some areas involve significant tensions and conflicts, the LGSA partners will build the capacities of respected leaders in government, non-governmental organizations and customary communities to provide facilitation and mediation assistance to help resolve disputes and reach mutually acceptable and durable agreements. For more information, contact Chris Moore.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently selected three projects across the state that help local agencies fund design, right of way acquisition and construction of stormwater Control Measures/ Best Management Practices (BMPs). This is part of CDOT’s innovative Permanent Water Quality (PWQ) Program, as outlined in its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit that became effective on August 28, 2015.
CDOT will contribute $6.5 million annually to a PWQ Mitigation Pool. CDOT’s contribution to the Mitigation Pool, and use of these funds to construct PWQ Control Measures that meet the required Design Standards for stormwater treatment/mitigation, is necessary for compliance. While there are certain Priority Projects that must provide onsite treatment, funding can also be used to support local agency projects that treat a portion of runoff from CDOT owned land (i.e., right of way) within MS4 boundaries.
This is an innovative approach that encourages regional Control Measures that are more cost effective and can be maintained more easily than small, geographically dispersed Control Measures. The PWQ Program supports collaboration among partners such as CDOT, local governments and watershed groups.
Laura Sneeringer and Jonathan Bartsch from CDR Associates began providing facilitation support four years ago when staff from CDOT headquarters and five regions came together to discuss how to develop a more innovative stormwater management program. At the beginning, there were divergent ideas on how to address stormwater challenges. Laura and Jonathan helped the Task Force come to a consensus decision on an approach they could all support and negotiate with the Colorado Deptartment of Public Health and Environment to develop a final concept. They have continued to support CDOT by facilitating implementation discussions and the first project selection process. They have also had a significant role in documenting decisions through program documents, such as the original concept, guidance for the interim and final program and application guidance for local agencies.
Final approval of the PWQ Program via the MS4 permit and selection of the first round of projects is a significant milestone after years of refining the program. It’s also a milestone nationwide as it could serve as an example for other states. For more information, please contact Laura or Jonathan and visit the CDOT PWQ Program website.
Many nations around the world, experience turmoil and conflict either within or along their borders. Africa is no different. CDR has worked with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) for many years to design and present customized international training programs on culturally appropriate dispute resolution and mediation procedures that can help resolve conflicts within and between nations. In April of this year, CDR conducted its 11th seminar, a major component of UNITAR’s Regional Training Programme to Enhance Conflict Prevention and Peace Building in Africa. This program was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the headquarters of the African Union. Earlier programs were held in Cape Town, South Africa, and Harari, Zimbabwe.
The program was attended by African officials and delegates from the African Union, African Foreign Service officers and a range of other government officials from across the continent. CDR presented lectures and used an African conflict simulation for participants to practice mediation and negotiation procedures and skills.
The Training Program Covered How To:
- Conduct and apply a rigorous situation assessment or conflict analysis
- Develop and implement appropriate and effective conflict resolution strategies and tactics
- Apply interest-based negotiation procedures rather than engage in positional bargaining
- Use mediators and a mediation process effectively
- Identify principles as future frameworks for agreements
- Generate a range of possible options for agreements
- Break deadlocks that impede settlement caused by people, procedures or substantive issues
- Narrow options and build durable solutions and agreements
- Apply interest-based negotiation and mediation procedures to address and resolve common political, economic and social conflicts – recognition of diverse languages, cultures and religions; the form of political structures and selection of leaders; the roles of military and police in society and who serves in them; decisions about natural resources, their exploitation and management and allocation of benefits; and the degree of influence ethnic minorities have over their lives
For more information, contact Christopher Moore or UNITAR.
The US 36 corridor between Denver and Boulder is currently under construction based on consensus reached between transportation agencies and the local communities. Soon commuters will have 18 miles of new infrastructure improvements providing travel options including a new bus rapid transit system, a corridor-wide bikeway, high occupancy toll lanes and improvements to the general purpose lanes. The current travel disruption was preceded by the environmental study led by the Colorado Department of Transportation and Regional Transportation District of Denver from 2003 to 2009.
The US 36 Preferred Alternative Committee (PAC) was charged with developing a recommendation to federal agencies for an implementable solution after a Preferred Alternative was still unidentified at the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) phase after four years.
What we did:
CDR Associates facilitated the PAC which consisted of elected officials, federal and state regulatory agency representatives and local government technical staff.
How we did it:
CDR facilitators used a ‘building block’ approach to assemble an agreement on the Preferred Alternative, including both substantive agreements (type/number of lanes etc…) as well as procedural approaches and triggers for future consideration. The result of the collaborative decision making process was regional consensus that resolved the issues and identified a Preferred Alternative including strategies and priorities for implementing the $300 million project you see today.
The US 36 EIS also incorporated meaningful input from the broader public into the decisions. The dynamic public involvement process solicited input from the stakeholders throughout five counties and seven municipalities in an area of a half million people to support the PAC’s decisions.
We are proud of our role in helping provide transportation improvements in our beautiful home in Colorado. For more information, contact Andrea Meneghel.
CDR Associates is excited to announce that the Indian Oil Valuation Rule, which they facilitated development of through a two-year Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, has been published and will be effective on July 1, 2015. As Secretary Jewell stated, “the final regulations will ensure that tribal communities receive all the royalty they are owed from oil production on their lands, reduce administrative costs, and provide greater predictability to the oil industry.”
The committee was comprised of Tribal, Indian mineral owners, industry, and federal government representatives. There had been a number of initiatives, beginning in 1998, that attempted to resolve concerns with the Rule, and none were completely successful until this negotiated rulemaking. Discussions involved highly complex technical discussions that resulted in consensus on the concepts that form the basis of the Final Rule. For more information, please contact Chris Moore or Laura Sneeringer.
Produced Water is a term used to describe water that is produced in the fracking process. CDR Associates has been working with stakeholders across Colorado to facilitate the conversation around produced water and its future uses, recycling possibilities and more.
CDR’s white paper on this process caught the attention of Colorado Public Radio and aided in a story being run this week as part of the Ripple Effect series.
You can read our white paper and check out the written and audio versions of the Produced Water episode of the Ripple Effect series.
For more information on CDR’s work on produced water, contact Ryan Golten, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Managing scarce western water resources increasingly requires an understanding of the multiple interests facing any watershed and ways in which they interact, overlap, and compete. CDR Associates reflects on inter-jurisdictional stakeholder based efforts in western watersheds.
Water managers and policy makers balance pressures ranging from ensuring a safe and reliable water supply for municipal and agricultural users, to maintaining a healthy river system, to protecting against flood danger and damage, to ensuring economic development and recreational opportunities. These interests often overlap – e.g., a healthy river system can help protect against flooding; a reliable water supply can help ensure flows to create or maintain a healthy river. For water-scarce western communities, however, with the increasing threats of climate change and reduced water supply, these demands are often seen as inherently competing for funding, public attention, priority status, and political support. This challenge is compounded by the siloes created in local government to manage different water-related programs and priorities.
Having facilitated several inter-jurisdictional, stakeholder-based efforts to create watershed-wide master plans for the State after the 2013 Colorado floods, CDR is working with municipalities to internally align their priorities and approaches to managing rivers. For cities juggling numerous river-related objectives (e.g., water supply, a healthy river, flood protection), this means building internal understanding about the nuanced ways in which their interests relate to and impact one another. For a utility department, this may mean a better understanding of what ecologists mean by ‘river health’ and how water supply projects or water management to meet multiple interests. For environmental scientists, this may mean a better understanding of the risks and threats that utility or storm water departments manage, including engineering projects that could be impacted by the timing or politics of river health projects.
As CDR’s work has shown, a forward-thinking, cross-sector approach to managing western water – particularly in this era of water scarcity and the unpredictability of climate change – requires building communication, trust and understanding across disciplines and interest groups; designing and developing mechanisms for collaboration, including effective facilitation; and leadership that promotes and supports this silo-busting approach.