Participation, empowerment, partnership, collaboration — all are core commitments for international development institutions. Meeting these commitments with increasingly sophisticated, interconnected and vocal stakeholders is a core challenge for development leaders. New strategies and practices for stakeholder engagement are emerging at every level, from on-line dialogue on global standard-setting to community voice in project governance.

CBI is recognized across the globe for its thought and practice leadership in stakeholder assessment, collaborative process design, facilitation, conflict resolution, and organizational capacity building. We combine process expertise with a deep substantive knowledge on a wide range of international development issues, including:

  • Development strategy, policy and programming
  • Climate change, energy and the environment
  • Food security
  • Public health
  • Post-conflict transitions
  • Private sector investment
  • Global voluntary standard setting
  • U.S. engagement for development in Muslim-majority countries
  • Women and Consensus Building (WCB)

Areas of Expertise

Facilitating International Development Planning and Decision Making

CBI works with UN development agencies, international financial institutions, humanitarian and development NGOs, and their stakeholders to:

  • Facilitate joint planning and standard setting
  • Help resolve conflicts over policies and projects
  • Design and facilitate multi-stakeholder planning processes

Our approach begins with careful assessment of stakeholders and issues, in order to determine whether and how a collaborative approach can help stakeholders move forward. We tailor process design to the specifics of each situation, whether internal planning, external consultation, or agreement seeking. As facilitators and mediators, we bring our substantive knowledge to bear to help stakeholders maximize Mutual Gains, while maintaining our impartiality.

Building Capacity for Productive Stakeholder Engagement

Using CBI's distinctive approach to organizational assessment, training and coaching outlined in Built to Win: Creating a World Class Negotiating Organization, we help development institutions target the areas of their work where effective negotiation, collaboration and conflict resolution are critical to development impact. Working with leaders and senior staff, we tailor interventions to ensure they lead directly to better development results. We link training and coaching to staff development, incentive structures and policies to promote and reward excellence in stakeholder engagement, negotiation and partnering.

At the national level, CBI partners with government and civil society institutions to build their capacity to facilitate stakeholder engagement in national decision making. We also improve global understanding of good practice in participatory development through teaching and research at MIT and Harvard, where our practice leaders and advisors are affiliated.

Featured Partner

Mil Niepold, President of The Mara Partners, is a Senior Consultant to CBI. In this capacity Mil works with CBI in the International Development, Corporate-Community Engagement and Women and Consensus Building practice areas. Her focus areas include labor and human rights, international organizations and global commodity supply chains (including cocoa, palm oil, oil and gas, among others).

See all International Development case studies