The following glossary can help you understand
some of the jargon used in the mediation/facilitation
Adaptive management – A flexible and dynamic management
approach which is modified when new data is acquired or with
a change in circumstances.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – Originally used
to refer to processes “alternative” to litigation,
such as mediation, facilitation, early neutral evaluation,
etc. ADR currently encompasses a list of dozens of processes
Arbitration - §44.1011(1) F.S.- a process where by a
neutral third person or panel, called an arbitrator or arbitration
panel, considers the facts and arguments presented by the parties
and renders a decision which may be binding or nonbinding
Capacity-Building – Education and training with the
objective of elevating the skills of individuals and the capacity
of institutions in resources management.
Collaborative Process – One form of decision making
in which groups create consensus by having participants work
toward mutual satisfaction of interests. Participants are responsible
for helping each other reach their goals and satisfy their
needs. These processes are based on a philosophy of ‘discuss,
agree, implement’ and aim to assist parties with differing
views to work together to create solutions to which they can
all agree. An important element is allowing time for trust
to build among the participants and an important responsibility
of the leader of a collaborative process is team building.
Conflict Assessment – A process in which a neutral assists
in identifying which issues of controversy are involved in
a given situation. This is often accomplished through a variety
of methods including surveys and stakeholder interviews. The
following information may be obtained or developed during this
process: causes of the conflict are discovered or revealed;
affected parties are identified; interests of affected parties
are identified, and the decision making method most valuable
for the resolution of the issues is suggested.
Conflict Resolution – ‘A process by which two
or more conflicting parties improve their situation by cooperative
action…’ Conflict resolution aims to create benefits
to all parties in the conflict, not simply cessation of conflict.
The concerns of conflicted parties are addressed in order to
seek solutions that will have both long and short term beneficial
Conflict Prevention- A process of anticipating the emergence
or causes of conflict and attempting to prevent it through
the convening of interested or vested stakeholders to make
recommendations or educate constituencies and oversee implementation
Consensus Building – A collaborative decision-making
technique in which a neutral (often a facilitator or mediator)
is used to assist in the building of agreement among multiple
stakeholders including: governments at all levels, government
agencies, user groups, citizen and homeowner groups, developers
and local communities regarding policy matters, environmental
conflicts or other controversial issues. Agreement is sought
through informed discussion, negotiation, transparency and
Facilitation – The use of third party neutrals to help
multi-party work groups accomplish the content of their work
by providing process leadership and process expertise or a
meeting of a group of people at which a facilitator structures
and manages group process to help the group meet its goal.
Facilitator - A person who makes a group’s work easier
by structuring and guiding the participation of group members.
Mediation - §44.1011(2)- a process whereby a neutral
third person called a mediator acts to encourage and ease the
resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is
an informal and nonadversarial process with the objective of
helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and
Mitigation – Prevention, elimination, reduction or control
of a project’s negative environmental effects by avoiding
or minimizing the effects, or by providing substitute resources
Process Design – The organizing and ordering of activities
which will lead a group to accomplish its goals or mandates.
Process design includes: stakeholder analysis (who is or should
be at the table), designing realistic agendas for each day
of meeting; incorporating various ways for participants and
observers of the process to engage and communicate; keeping
group memory in the form of recording (usually handwritten
on flipcharts or by participants on worksheets) and reports;
helping the group adopt an organizational structure for use
in their work; adaptive management of the process (flexibility);
maintaining links of communication through email and other
forms of distribution; balancing of interests; assuring respect
and acknowledgement of varying learning and communication styles;
ensuring that participants are making informed decisions (through
presentations, papers and other methods); and other considerations.
Public Participation- Processes in which the advice, recommendations,
input and suggestions of the public are solicited, recorded
and used in decision making. This differs from public information
processes which are designed solely for the purpose of giving
information to those in attendance and not soliciting their
responses or opinions.
Risk assessment – Technique to quantify risks and thus
provide some guidance as to which problems need the most prompt
attention and how they might be addressed.
Stakeholder – A resource user/rentor/owner who has an
interest in the subject of discussion; such as community members,
local, state, and federal government representatives, non-governmental
organizations, businesses, developers, and scientists who may
represent that interest and act as the spokesperson for that
interest on a committee, commission, etc.
Structured Techniques- Carefully orchestrated methods for
helping a group accomplish a particular task. It is a way of
organizing the activity of a group. Each technique consists
of a prescribed set of steps, which, if followed, produce a
predictable outcome form.
Sustainable development – A process in which the use
of resources, direction of investments, orientation of technological
development, and institutional change are made consistent with
the needs of the economy, the environment and the social structure
in order to preserve resources and aesthetics for future generations
as well as those of present generations.
Transparency – A decision-making quality in which the
process is conducted openly and with participation from all
groups potentially affected by the outcome of the decision.