• New publication as part of the IUCN and Nature series now out: NEGOTIATE – Reaching Agreements Over Water

NEGOTIATE is a vital new resource for those interested in designing, leading, or participating in negotiation and consensus building on sustainable water resources management. Edited by John Dore, Julia Robinson and Mark Smith

 Water practitioners are increasingly called upon to negotiate workable agreements about how to best use, manage and care for water resources. NEGOTIATE makes the case for constructive engagement and cooperative forms of negotiation in dealing with complex water issues. It guides users through ways of building meaningful participation of stakeholders in decision making over water by unpacking constructive approaches such as multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs) and consensus building. NEGOTIATE finally focuses on the diversity of agreements which can be produced to regulate or encourage fairer and more effective water allocation and use.

NEGOTIATE will help water professionals negotiate workable agreements on how to best manage water resources.

NEGOTIATE can be downloaded from:


Case studies accompanying NEGOTIATE are available at:


All WANI toolkits can be downloaded or ordered online: www.iucn.org/publications

Chapter summary :

Chapter 1. Why Negotiate?
NEGOTIATE emphasizes the merits of constructive engagement when dealing with complex water issues and aims to assist people dealing with competing claims or advocating different options for water use, management and sharing. This chapter includes an explicit focus on the 4Rs – Rewards, Rights, Risks and Responsibilities.

Chapter 2. Constructive Engagement

Choosing constructive engagement aims to improving the fairness and effectiveness of negotiating and decision making. There is a spectrum of possible modes of stakeholder participation in negotiations, from tokenism through to extensive devolution of decision-making authority.

Chapter 3. Multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs)
MSPs are a part of governance where deliberation is fostered among multiple, diverse stakeholders. It can proactively and constructively assist stakeholders grappling with difficult water-related issues by contributing to a sounder basis for negotiation and decision-making.

Chapter 4. Consensus Building
A consensus building approach ensures that all the relevant stakeholders are at the table, that negotiations are managed in a problem-solving (or value creating) way, and that the parties commit to workable and adaptable agreements.  It involves six steps: convening, clarifying responsibilities, deliberating, deciding, implementing agreements; and organizational learning and development.

Chapter 5. Agreement
An agreement is the tangible product of negotiation, alongside other intangible benefits. Agreements include policies, laws, charters, codes of conduct, contracts and other management and allocation arrangements. Agreements must be developed while being cognizant of the existing legal and policy framework.

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