What is Consensus Facilitation?
Unlike typical facilitation, in which the Facilitator guides a group through a meeting while facilitating dialogue and negotiating agreements, Consensus Facilitation is a process conducted by highly skilled professionals who have the additional skills to convene the group and help focus the stakeholders on specific issues to reach agreements, as well as to implement strategies and monitor plans which stem from the negotiated agreement. Consensus Facilitation can be applied to issues as diverse as environmental disputes and land use, human rights and minority inclusion, and community engagement processes and building networks and coalitions. It is a long-term process which requires skills and techniques that go beyond the traditional facilitation skills.
Why Does Consensus Facilitation Work?
Consensus Facilitation has proved successful due to the following key points:
- It is conducted by a trained neutral facilitator
- It incorporates all the best skills and abilities of a traditional facilitation and elevates the process to the next level
- It moves beyond dialogue to reach agreements
- It ensures those agreements are implemented and the outcomes are achieved
- It evaluates progress and re-negotiates progressive strategies for change