April 22, 2015

In 2014, CBI and Casa de la Paz, a Chilean partner organization, jointly mediated a conflict between a major Chilean forestry company and a small community located next to one of the company’s plantations. The process began after the community requested our help in addressing a range of concerns about the company’s activities, and the company agreed to engage in a dialogue process.

The community’s primary concerns included:

  • The potential environmental impacts (e.g. for water resources and soil quality) of the company’s eucalyptus plantation;
  • The visual impacts of clear-cutting, and the implications of these impacts for the local tourism industry; and
  • The potential impacts of chemical herbicides used for weed control, particularly for the health of local residents and the livelihood of local beekeepers.

The parties had been unable to address these issues on their own, and communication between them had broken down. To address the situation, we proposed and implemented a dialogue process structured around the Mutual Gains Approach:

Step 1: Preparation. During this “phase”, we interviewed stakeholders from both the community and the company to understand the issues in play and help construct a shared understanding of the problem. We then conducted a joint training to ensure that both sides were prepared to engage in mutual gains negotiation and constructive dialogue.