ECR2012 NATIONAL CONFERENCE AND THE EMERGING ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY

The seventh national Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution Conference (ECR2012) is fast approaching. The conference, organized by the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution in conjunction with several federal partners, will be held on May 22-24, 2012, at the JW Marriott Starr Pass in Tucson, Ariz.

The conference program will include plenary discussions, pre-conference trainings, technology exhibits, panel and roundtable sessions, and other events including the Association for Conflict Resolution, Environmental and Public Policy Section mid-year conference.

The conference program will be organized around four tracks:

Track I: Tribal Consultation, Collaboration and Environmental Conflict Resolution (ECR)

Track II: Collaborating at New and Larger Scales

Track III: Building Institutional and Practitioner Capacity for ECR and Collaboration

Track IV: ECR in Administrative and Litigation Contexts

In addition, four cross-cutting special subject areas will be highlighted as part of the ECR2012 program. These will include: Environmental Justice, Renewable Energy, the Economics of ECR, and Innovative Uses of Technology in ECR Processes.

The technology emphasis is particularly important and timely. Technology is transforming the practice of environmental collaboration and conflict resolution, as new tools change the way people communicate with each other as well as the way people understand, analyze, and make decisions about environmental stewardship. The application of social networking tools to public participation, computer-based decision support tools, and new approaches to systems modeling, all present pioneering opportunities for changing the way ECR practitioners, government agencies, and advocacy groups of all kinds engage their constituents. Technology is also important as government and other entities strive to perform their mission-critical functions in the most cost-effective way. The ECR2012 Technology Fair will showcase new tools, and how they are being applied in varied program contexts. The Technology Fair will also be an opportunity to learn more about the ECR technology-enhanced projects nominated for the U.S. Institute's second Technology and ECR Award.

The ECR2012 technology events will be led by Karen Siderelis, the former Geospatial Information Officer (GIO) for the Department of Interior. In October 2011, Siderelis joined the U.S. Institute as Director of Technology and Collaboration. She has many years of experience working for the federal government as well as the state of North Carolina. She is considered one of the top federal officials working to further the development and use of GIS and decision support tools to aid environmental and natural resources decision making.

In addition to the ECR2012 technology related events, more than 30 panel and roundtable sessions will include presenters from federal departments and agencies (anticipated to include the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), as well as representatives from state, tribal and local governments, ECR practitioners, environmental advocates, NGO's, community-based groups, science and technical experts, academics and others. The overarching goal is to have leading trainers and presenters share their time and expertise to showcase and discuss some of the most noteworthy work being done nationally and internationally to improve the means by which environmental, natural resource and public lands conflicts and challenges are being addressed.

Other events anticipated to dovetail with ECR2012 include the Association for Conflict Resolution, Environment and Public Policy Section mid-year conference, an EPA employee ADR meeting, a Federal Technology Working Group meeting, project stakeholder meetings, and working meetings for members of the National Roster of ECR Practitioners and members of the Native Dispute Resolution Network.

Special thanks are due to ECR2012 sponsors for their help making this conference possible. They include the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, and the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy at the University of Arizona.

For more information about ECR2012 visit www.ecr.gov or email ECR2012@ecr.gov.