Elizabeth Fierman under the supervision of David Fairman, David Plumb, Lawrence Susskind, Philip Angell, and Kelly LevinEight-party negotiation (with option for a ninth person facilitator) regarding climate change issues in a situation loosely based on the situation in Viet Nam.
The dynamic and uncertain nature of climate change will have serious implications on how we make decisions, particularly longer-term decisions around things like development and infrastructure planning. Recognizing this trend, the World Resources Institute (WRI) and its partners focused the 2010-11 version of their influential World Resources Report on “Decision Making in a Changing Climate.” The recent emergence of climate change adaptation as a serious concern in planning and decision-making means that there is not yet a well-developed set of best practices or case studies. In response to this lack of practice to draw from in creating the Report, WRI contracted the Consensus Building Institute and MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program to develop and implement a pair of simulation exercises, one of which is the Bien Gio Delta simulation. These exercises present the kinds of challenges decision makers are expected to face in the near future as a result of climate change, based on trends already seen, predictions of what may come, and plans already under development.
The Bien Gio Delta exercise is loosely based on the situation in Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta, and it was first run there. The densely populated Mekong Delta is a key source of food production and economic activity in Viet Nam, and climate change – particularly predicted sea level rise – poses a very real threat to it. Adapting to sea level rise will require difficult trade-offs over different time horizons. A number of people were interviewed in the preparation of this exercise, and an extensive literature review was conducted. The details have, however, been modified, and this scenario is placed in the fictitious country of Rinsap.
Ultimately, though, the setting is not so important – while other countries will not face the exact same challenges as Viet Nam, many are facing similar questions around sea level rise. Moreover, planning for a changing climate is increasingly recognized as necessary around the world, and the questions raised in this simulation are applicable to a variety of climate change-driven situations. One of the particular decision-making challenges that climate change presents, and that this exercise can help decision makers confront, is that of making difficult trade-offs in the face of substantial uncertainty.
This exercise will help participants think about:
- How to deal with data that could have serious implications but are highly uncertain and dynamic;
- How and at what stage climate change should be factored into planning and decision-making;
- How to manage tradeoffs implicit adapting to future changes;
- How to consider risk in decision-making; and
- How different stakeholders can work together to make these challenging decisions.
A large multilateral organization has established the Global Fund for Climate Change Adaptation, which will invest in activities that make developing countries more resilient and prepared for climate change. In part because of the government’s Climate Change Report, the Global Fund has decided to allocate US$500 million for use in the Bien Gio Delta. In order to receive the funds, Rinsap’s government must set clear priorities for how the funds will be utilized, in consultation with various stakeholders.
The question stakeholders must consider is, what should be the priorities for allocating the donated funds? The Prime Minister has asked a group of eight representatives of various organizations to meet to discuss prioritization of the funds and find areas of agreement. To guide the discussion, a government ministry has outlined five categories of adaptation approaches that could be funded: a) man-made protective infrastructure; b) natural protective infrastructure; c) new agricultural technologies and techniques; d) development of non-agricultural sectors; and e) resettlement. The meeting participants are asked to focus their discussion on the implications and potential outcomes of each of the above options. In particular, they are asked to consider the long-term and short-term implications of each approach, as well as how well each approach addresses the main threats posed by sea level rise. The Prime Minister has hired a professional facilitator to guide the discussion.
- Teachings notes
- General Instructions for Participants
- Confidential Instructions – Planning and Development Ministry
- Confidential Instructions – Environment Ministry
- Confidential Instructions – Agriculture, Aquaculture and Rural Affairs Ministry
- Confidential Instructions – Bien Gio Delta Provinces Coalition
- Confidential Instructions – University of Thoy Bat Hydrology and Meteorology Research Institute
- Confidential Instructions – Rinsap National University Agriculture and Aquaculture Research Institute
- Confidential Instructions – Bien Gio Farmers Union
- Confidential Instructions – Global Fund for Climate Change Adaptation Secretariat
- Facilitator Instructions
Prioritizing Climate Change Adaptation Measures Attributes
- Time required:
- 6.5-8 hours
- Number of participants:
- Teams involved:
- Agent present:
- Neutral third party present:
- Teaching notes available:
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center
Soft copy vs. hard copy
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Ordering a single copy for review
If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. 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.
Ordering copies for multiple participants
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 “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.
If you are ordering hard copies, 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 “Quantity.” 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.