Complex Problems, Negotiated Solutions
Tools to Reduce Conflict in Community Development

Paper: 978 1 85339 532 1
Price: $25.95  

Publisher: Practical Action
120 pp., 6" x 11 3/4"
The pace of change for many rural communities across the developing world is exponential. New technology, economic globalization, finite natural resources, political realities and cultural erosion can together represent change of such magnitude and 'shock' that it overwhelms the capacity of civil society, government and business to adapt, leading to dysfunctional institutions, disputes and interpersonal conflict.

This book suggests strategies, principles and tools to reduce development-induced disputes and interpersonal conflict as obstacles to achieving sustainable rural livelihoods. Consensual 'win-win' negotiation is promoted as the preferred strategy, but set firmly within the context of the alternatives. The importance of conflict management processes that 'fit' with local customary and legal approaches is stressed.

The book provides a way to systematize the complexity of conflict situations in rural environments, offering a guide to designing practicable conflict mitigation and prevention strategies. The key principles and tools of consensual negotiation are described, illustrated with examples from around the developing world. To enhance its utility for practitioners, over 20 group and individual exercises have been included, enabling the book to be used for training purposes.

This book should attract anyone from civil society, government, business or the donor community interested in learning something of the art of brokering negotiated solutions to the conflicts and complexities of rural environments.

Case studies used in the book include a South Pacific project (coastal zone management planning, and coral farming); a conflict management consultancy in Bolivia (disputes between two NGOs, involving a road block); recent FAO Community Forestry Unit case-studies on natural resource conflict (Latin America, India); conflict analysis work in rural Zambia (wildlife vs community conflicts); Natural resources conflict management and community forestry in India.

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