Last month in New York City, 40 heads of state and almost 1,000 religious, business and nonprofit leaders came together at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) for three days of in-depth discussions in an effort to address and seek solutions for the world’s critical issues: extreme poverty, climate change, problems in governance, and religion as a source of conflict. The talks concluded with the announcement of “commitments” totaling $1.25 billion in pledges for specific initiatives that address these global problems. Clinton singled out the commitment from Nestle to fund Search for Common Ground’s TV drama series in Nigeria, and invited Search For Common Ground (SFCG) President John Marks and Klaus Wachsmuth, Managing Director of Nestle Nigeria PLC, to the stage to recognize this model of corporate and NGO partnership for effecting positive social change. SFCG is currently producing two TV series in Nigeria. Their aim is to promote inter-ethnic tolerance and respect, and to encourage non-violent resolution of conflict. The Station is a 26-part drama about the adventures of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious group of Nigerian TV reporters – Yorubas, Hausas, Ibos, and others – working together as a news team to cover Nigeria’s most pressing problems, such as AIDS and corruption, through the prism of finding common ground. The series focuses on socially relevant themes through entertaining soap opera drama that will appeal to large audiences. The initial production is a 20-part reality series called The Academy, which is intended to build an audience for The Station. The Academy is centered on a nationwide talent search leading to the final selection of the cast for The Station. Over 50,000 applicants answered the open casting call. Both series will be aired on Nigerian national TV, with the direct support of President Obasanjo. To read more about SFCG and the Clinton Global Initiative, visit www.sfcg.org.
Archives for October 2005
Federal officials working for environmental, land-management, and wildlife agencies gathered in August with state, local, and tribal officials; nonprofit conservation organizations; and private landowners and businesses for the fourth-ever White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation. The first such conference was convened by Teddy Roosevelt in 1908 and set a 40-year course for conservation in the United States. This year�s theme, �Strengthening shared governance and citizen stewardship,� sought to celebrate what Interior Secretary Gail Norton called a new chapter built on “communication, consultation, and cooperation, in the name of conservation.” The three-day conference was organized by the Council on Environmental Quality, and co-hosted by the Departments of Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and the Environmental Protection Agency. A number of facilitators, including PolicyConsensus Director Chris Carlson and NPCC Director Greg Wolf, led discussions around nine key topic areas such as expanding the roles of states, tribes, and local governments in cooperative conservation. In her opening remarks, Interior Secretary Norton described an initiative to develop cooperative conservation legislation to submit to Congress, though few details were offered about what the legislation would contain. Two days later, at the concluding plenary session � after Norton and other cabinet members had been summoned to Washington, D.C., to coordinate the emergency response to Hurricane Katrina � federal officials issued an invitation to conference participants to provide input on the proposed legislation. For updates and more information on the conference, visit PolicyConsensus.org.
For the past several years, the Policy Consensus Initiative (PCI) and the National Policy Consensus Center (NPCC) have been developing an approach to collaborative governance for states that can be adapted and applied to complex policy issues in which multiple sectors have a stake in the outcomes, and no single entity can produce a solution on its own. The model is based on lessons from the past 30 years about what makes collaborative processes legitimate and effective. This �Public Solutions System� is not intended to replace existing, traditional systems of state decision making. Rather, it serves as an option for state leaders to use on a more routine basis when difficult public issues � issues that cannot be resolved by government alone � need to be approached collaboratively. A fundamental component of the Public Solutions System is the new role it offers leaders � that of convener. Unlike a policymaker, the role of convener involves bringing together all the key sectors � public, private and civic � to develop effective, lasting solutions to public problems that go beyond what any sector could achieve on its own. Rather than deciding for people, leaders in the convener role make decisions with people, giving all impacted stakeholders a key role in problem solving and strategy implementation. The Public Solutions System involves a set of core principles that ensure democratic practices are followed; an �Operating System� that ensures best practices are employed; and a network of leaders as conveners, along with sponsors, practitioners, and neutral forums to carry out the collaborative processes. More information about the Public Solutions System should be available on PCI’s updated website, which will be launched in the coming month (www.PolicyConsensus.org).