About Summit

Exploring the Prospects of Conflict Transformation Approaches to Stakeholder Engagement on Coastal Retreat
Increasingly, coastal and adaptation professionals express a need for greater skills in "negotiation" and "conflict resolution," or "communication in heated/conflictual environments." The grounds for this are well known to many: pressing concerns over how to adapt, the growing recognition of the need to "retreat" from the coast, the cultural unacceptability of that term and type of adaptation, the general litigative culture around property rights, the very real impacts on economies and tax bases, and instances of real and perceived injustice, historical legacies of bad development decisions, and institutionalized lack of access and transparency of decision making. The call for these additional skills by planners, coastal managers, sustainability professionals, extension specialists, coastal training professionals, consultants, agency staff and so on goes well beyond the desire to just "find the right term to use" to talk about retreat; it also goes beyond the need to make planning processes more inclusive and transparent.

Conflict transformation involves a set of approaches to not just "negotiate" compromises where contrasting interests collide or "resolve" individual instances of conflicts, but to seek to address the structural and social root causes of conflict so that a durable solution can be found. It can - as such - serve an important role in a society's on-going evolution and development, and as such presents a positive opportunity.

Conflict transformation is not yet a well-developed or formally, empirically tested approach in coastal adaptation and retreat. This Virtual Round Table offers a collaborative environment to jointly explore and develop it further. Designed as a crowdsourcing session, The lead presenter will introduce approaches to conflict transformation and then facilitate a discussion among Round Table participants. All are invited to share with each other which approaches make sense, how the different steps apply in their contexts, what would be needed to apply them, and tell stories of success and/or caution on any aspect that may already have been attempted. The input received will be summarized (and shared back with participants, if there is interest) and inform further testing of the approach in a real-life setting.
Coastal Management