On September 21 and 22, 2017, CONCUR led a customized course “Negotiating and Facilitating Effective Environmental Agreements” for students of the Master of Advanced Studies Program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This 12-month interdisciplinary master’s program focuses on marine and climate science, ecology, communications, law and policy, economics, and environmental justice. The program equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to be effective and enduring leaders in the field of marine conservation. Students go on to direct programs at agencies, non-governmental organizations and foundations, where they tackle the many challenges our oceans face today.

“Negotiating and Facilitating Effective Environmental Agreements” featured a combination of short presentations and hands-on exercises, including multi-party negotiation simulations, exercises, debriefing, and class discussion. In order to tailor the course specifically to participants’ fields of study and experience levels, we developed one new simulation and modified others. The training focused on the role of negotiation and facilitation in marine resource issues and linkages between scientific analysis and public policy/public decision-making.

The course included:

  1. A 3 party water negotiation simulation which reflects recent California water issues
  2. Emphasis the concept of joint fact finding/independent scientific review
  3. A fishbowl simulation focused on offshore wind energy negotiations
  4. A multi-party multi-issue negotiation simulation on sea level rise and social equity, which gives participants the opportunity to negotiate and facilitate
  5. Illustrating the concepts we teach with real world case examples from our portfolio of projects
  6. Using a set of increasingly complex negotiations to allow students to gradually build and employ an range of skills

Nineteen students attended the course, with a wide range of natural and social science interests. Areas of topical interest noted by students included: coral reef protection, marine debris pollution, public education and scientific communication, human interaction with coastal resources, ocean law and policy, marine protected areas, open ocean conservation, marine mammals, sharks and their role in ocean ecology, protection of pacific island communities and ocean resources.