Multi-actor dialogues

Through the SwedBio programme the centre seek to contribute to an improved dialogue culture between different actors and stakeholders, including grass-roots levels, science and policy and decision makers.

In most international processes and negotiations there are, except for different views based in real differences, also knowledge gaps that have to be understood before solutions and results can be reached. To help facilitate knowledge exchange, and also co-creation of knowledge, SwedBio has been co-organising several “multi-actor dialogues”, bringing together diverse actors such as UN organisations, governments, scientists, civil society – including indigenous peoples and local communities organisations – as well as private sector.

"The biggest single opportunity we have is dialogue"

These multi-actor dialogues are based on the conviction that all the participants together can craft a suite of solutions, rather than assuming there is a single answer that fits all.

This approach encourages active listening with the intention to understand each other's viewpoints, find meaning and agreement, rather than listening to imposed positions, finding flaws and make counterarguments. It is about revealing assumptions for reevaluation.

Three distinctive features differentiate a dialogue from a discussion, when all three are present, a conversation is transformed into a dialogue:

1. Equality and the absence of coercive influences

2. Listening with empathy

3. Bringing assumptions into the open

The method used for the dialogue seminars organised by SwedBio includes a thorough process with consultations and interviews regarding aim and agenda – the dialogue starts from day one in the planning process for ownership with the diverse actors involved. They are held under under the Chatham House Rule, and includes keynote presentations, case studies, round table discussions and field trips, all planned for so that different groups can connect across language, cultural and political barriers.

Literature in the field includes: The magic of dialogue; transforming
conflict into cooperation, Yankelovich, D., 2001; and Solutions,
Costanza, R., 2010

Read more about SwedBio’s multi-actor dialogues:

The Quito Dialogues on Scaling up Biodiversity Finance

The Guna Yala Dialogue on Indigenous knowledge, traditional knowledge, science and connecting diverse knowledge systems

The Medellín Dialogue on integrating social-ecological resilience into the new development agenda

Examples of dialogues