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Using dialogue and negotiation

Solving problems associated with sustainable development is not just about changing the behaviour of individual actors, businesses and communities, but about seeking new ways of thinking about systems, neighbours and holistic planning. While individual stakeholders may make the ultimate decisions on-the-ground, others play an active role in creating the context that enables (or inhibits) sustainable development. Consequently, sustainable development extension is about engaging stakeholders (including national and regional agencies and government, science, business, and the requisite public interest groups) in the process of learning and adaptive management and about negotiating how to move forward in a complex world, where we do not have all the information. Key to this move is the development of platforms for dialogue and negotiation to occur between and across different stakeholder groups. The links below are concerned with improving opportunities and techniques for dialogic interaction. For more intractable cases a subsequent section provides links to material which can help with conflict management.

Other related approaches on other pages on this site include the use of models to facilitate dialogue, and developing new networks to support dialogue among new groupings.

Dialogic approaches

Managing conflict

There is a substantial difference between pursuing a collaborative approach within an already well-functioning situation, and trying to initiate collaboration in a social environment characterised by existing conflict. In the latter case the need for effective facilitation and expert mediation of conflicts is definitely greater.