Environment and Sustainability Negotiation Role-Play:

Managing Groundwater Beneath the Pablo-Burford Border

Lawrence Susskind
Two-team, ten-person, multi-issue, co-chaired negotiation between representatives of two adjacent countries regarding the transboundary management of a severe water shortage crisis

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Free review copies of non-English Teacher’s Packages will be emailed upon request. Please contact tnrc@law.harvard.edu  or telephone 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.)

SCENARIO:

The fictional countries of Pablo and Burford face a water crisis brought on by extreme water quality and quantity problems. The dismal water situation is largely a result of unsustainable agricultural activities in the borderlands separating the two countries.

Two years ago, the Presidents of Pablo and Burford instructed the responsible national authorities to prepare a sustainable agricultural and water protection plan. Since then, the Burford Environmental Department and the Pablo Agriculture Department having been working to organize a joint summit to negotiate the framework of such a plan. In the midst of summit planning, a new controversy regarding agrochemical pollution of borderland groundwaters emerges. The summit now has been scheduled for six months earlier than originally planned.

The summit will be co-chaired by representatives of the Burford Environmental Department and the Pablo Agriculture Department. The other participants include the Governor of the Burford border state of Grady and representatives from a number of national and international NGOs with interests in groundwater policy. The agenda includes nine decision items, and the participants are expected to reach agreement by at least a two-thirds vote on all nine items.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • Importance of agenda control
  • Power of option creation
  • Repercussions of voting procedures on the content and sustainability of the outcome
  • Importance of reaching agreement on terms and scientific facts before negotiating
  • Impact of BATNA on the negotiation

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

For all parties:

  • General Instructions and Information for All Parties
  • Issues to Resolve
  • Pablo-Burford map
  • Appendices A-E (Country Information, Hydrology, Location of Borderland Aquifers, Glossary, and Evaluating Zine)
  • Additional Reading References

 

Role-specific:

  • Confidential instructions for representatives of:
  • BED (Burford’s federal environmental regulatory agency)
  • BIO (an international consortium of 72 biotech companies)
  • CONSUME (a small anti-hunger NGO in Pablo)
  • EARTH (an international consortium of environmental NGOs)
  • FARM (Burford Farm Association)
  • Chet Freeman (Governor of the Burford border state of Grady)
  • PAD (Pablo Agricultural Development)
  • SUSTAIN (a nonprofit of sustainable agriculture organization from the Burford border state of North Rhine.
  • TRADE (a Pablo agribusiness trade alliance)
  • UNION (National Farmer’s Union of Pablo)

 

Teacher’s Package (110 pages total):

  • All of the above
  • Game Manager Position Summary Sheet

 

KEYWORDS/ THEMES:

Multi-party negotiation; science-intensive policy disputes; transboundary environmental disputes; water quality and quantity negotiations; cross-cultural negotiations; facilitation

 

SIMILAR SIMULATIONS:

Hitana Bay Development Simulation

Tovisaria Power Sector Simulation

IPMS Series

 

Managing Groundwater Beneath the Pablo-Burford Border Attributes

Time required:
5 or more hours
Number of participants:
10
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
No
Non-English version available:
Spanish
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.).

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If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as all Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish to order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Participant Copies.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.