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2018 AWRA Annual Conference
Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
November 4, 2018, 8:30am – 5pm
Cost: $295.00
Registration Deadline - October 15, 2018

Water Conflict Management and Transformation

Todd Jarvis, PhD, Oregon State Univ.; Aaron Wolf, PhD, Oregon State Univ.; Todd Votteler, PhD, Collaborative Water Resolution, LLC

Objective:  This session integrates the theory, principles and practice of managing complex natural resource conflicts.  Drawing on the expertise or regional, national, and international pracademics, hear stories and lessons learned from the trenches, managing complex disputes in water, forestry, spirituality and climate change debates.  “Water Conflict Management & Transformation” offers an opportunity for water resources professionals regardless of background to learn about current and leading-edge ways to work effectively in contentious water situations.  It explores conflict tolerance, prevention, management, and transformation through collaborative structures as well as through models of negotiation and dialogue.

Background:  From traditional knowledge systems to Fortune 500 organizational management to public sector capacity-building, approaches to natural resources conflict resolution and negotiation strategies generally stem from a four step, or “Four Worlds”, framework. Interested in how international experts conduct negotiations related to climate change and water supplies? Want to learn how to deal with dueling experts, to bring the “scientific” into “mediation”? Can games and gaming really break impasse? How does one “map” a conflict? How do we facilitate negotiated agreements in different languages?  What does spirituality have to do with conflict transformation? This session is designed to be dynamic, problem-based, and highly interactive. 

Water management is conflict management. Regardless of the scale, ensuring that the needs of the people and ecosystems that rely on this critical resource are met effectively requires comprehensive understanding of both water science and water conflict management, including dispute mitigation, transformation, and resolution. To address these needs, the instructors have designed a highly interactive approach to capacity-building, including theoretical approaches, case studies, role plays, and serious gaming. The goal of this course is to broaden the scope of approach to the conflicts inevitable in the water world, and to provide a more theoretical dimension to conflict, engage multi-level scales of conflict dimensions and strengthen skills through highly experiential learning opportunities. 

Topics:  Topics and Activities to be Included in the 8 Hour Period
Goals of the course would be to:
- Increase participants’ understanding of the issue of shared waters from various perspectives and scales
- Develop the ability of participants to reframe interpersonal differences and apply this within the context of shared waters
- Increase skills of participants to analyze stakeholders, issues and conditions for negotiations within a shared waters context 
- Introduce the participants to a wide range of negotiation tools, models and frameworks 
- Provide a space for participants to practice and demonstrate their negotiation/mediation skills 

Activities will depend on the backgrounds and experiences of the participants; options include:
- Some lecture and readings for background and context
- Short exercises including surveys and role plays to hone specific skills
- Assessing film clips of conflict management in a variety of settings
- Serious gaming to help flesh out concepts and skills

Your Instructors:

Todd Jarvis, PhD is the Director of the Institute for Water & Watersheds at Oregon State University. He is an Oregon-licensed Certified Engineering Geologist and Certified Water Right Examiner. He is also a Certified Mediator and teaches Environmental Conflict Resolution at the University of Oregon Law School and for UNESCO at locations across the globe.  He is the author of Contesting Hidden Waters: Conflict Resolution for Groundwater and Aquifers (Earthscan). Email: todd.jarvis@oregonstate.edu; Phone:  (541) 737-4032

Todd Votteler, PhD has over 25 years of experience in land and rare species management, all in the context of surface and groundwater management. A trained mediator, researcher, and water resource manager, he provides collaborative design and dispute resolution for multi-stakeholder processes. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Texas Water Journal.  Email: Votteler@waterdisputes.org; Phone: (512) 970-9840

Aaron T. Wolf, PhD is a professor of geography at OSU, whose research and teaching focus is on the interaction between spirituality, water science and water policy, particularly as related to conflict prevention and transformation. A trained mediator/ facilitator, he directs the Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation, through which he has offered workshops, facilitations, and mediation in basins and for governments throughout the world.  He is the author, most recently, of The Spirit of Dialogue: Lessons from Faith Traditions in Transforming Conflict (Island).

Take Aways: Conflicts and disputes brought on by competing interests (not necessarily too little water).  Conflicts are made worse by:

  • misperceptions
  • entrenched thinking
  • miscommunication
  • conflicts and disputes managed by:
  • focusing on interests and values, not positions
  • focus on process and relationships, not dividing water
  • institutions matter

The single most important skill in transforming conflict: LEARNING TO LISTEN!

Number of Students:  The number of students will be limited to 60.  Students will be enrolled in the order in which their registration is received.  The course will be canceled if the number of students enrolled by is less than 20.

Schedule:  (Subject to modification)

8:00AM    Welcome and introductions

8:15AM    Introduction to Hydropolitics and Conflict Transformation

  • Overview
  • General Setting: Introduction to Hydropolitics
  • Summary – Conflict and Cooperation: The Challenge of Shared Waters
  • Stages of Water Conflict Transformation
  • Basic Definitions for Dispute Resolution
  • Understanding Conflict

10:15AM    Break 

10:30AM    Initial State – Basins and Boundaries

  • The Elements of Conflict
  • Active, Transformative, and inter-cultural listening
  • The Reflexive Stage of Negotiations

12 Noon    Lunch

1:00PM     Changing Perceptions – Basins without Boundaries

  •  Enhancing and Sharing Benefits: Beyond the Basin, Beyond Water
  •  The Integrative Stage of Negotiations
  •  Reframing through Shared Values

3:00PM    Break

3:15PM    Group Role Play/Serious Game

4:15PM    Debrief Activity

4:45PM    Feedback and evaluations

5:00PM    Adjourn