Preparing the ground
Key organisers and facilitators
Informal dialogues
Non-party stakeholders
Convergence strategies

Agenda management

The formal agenda reflects the full list of topics that are officially discussed during negotiations and the order in which they are discussed. By carefully managing the agenda, organisers can steer the negotiations towards a successful outcome.  

Issue linkage

Refers to the simultaneous negotiation of multiple issues. Issue linkages can form the basis of quid-pro-quos and package deals where parties concede on issues of lesser importance for them to gain on issues of higher importance. Facilitators can use their privileged knowledge of different parties’ preferences to promote issue linkage.

Negotiation atmosphere

Various factors including the layout of the room, catering, IT and interpretation services, the level of formality and representation, and the language/s spoken can all influence delegates’ well-being. A positive negotiation atmosphere is conducive for the reaching of consensus, and a negative atmosphere can have the reverse effect.

Management of draft texts

Facilitators should take care in overseeing the evolution of draft texts that are designed to move parties closer to consensus and eventually form agreed text. Draft texts typically begin as compilations of all parties’ proposals contained within brackets. Negotiations aim to gradually remove the number of bracketed options until a definitive version is agreed upon.

Declaring consensus

During the final plenary the lead facilitator may face a critical moment when he/she needs to decide whether to declare consensus by bringing down the gavel. A lead facilitator’s ability to declare consensus and overrule objection will largely depend on psychological factors including the level of trust and support they receive from parties and the mood in the room.