Developing Water, Energy, and Environmental Negotiating Capabilities in Mexico


Colorado River Sunset, Glen Canyon Dam, By Romain Guy

Over the next three years, the MIT-Harvard Mexico Negotiation Program will develop an executive negotiation teaching and training program for Mexico’s resource management sector. 

The goal is to further enhance the skills and strategies available to government and private sector managers involved in water, energy, and natural resource management negotiations at local, national, and international scales. 

Under the mentorship of Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, Lawrence Susskind, Director of the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program (based at Harvard Law School) and Director of the MIT Science Impact Collaborative (based at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning), Dr. Bruno Verdini, Lecturer in Urban Planning and Negotiation, leads the efforts as Program Director.

Specialized training modules, with tailored syllabi and negotiation exercises, will be developed in collaboration with leading universities and research institutions. The materials will focus on energy transition and planning, water conservation, infrastructure investment, facility siting, climate change adaptation, hazardous waste management, and environmental restoration.

Skill building will range from negotiation preparation, to face-to-face interaction, to the resolution of disputes arising during the implementation of agreements. The principles and strategies include, among others, how to effectively move beyond hard-bargaining tactics, enhance stakeholder-engagement, incorporate scientific insights into the decision-making process, manage the tensions between creating and claiming value, insulate agreement against spoilers, and account for unpredictable circumstances.

The Program will support the efforts of Mexico’s Ministry of Energy, in collaboration with the Mexican Ministries of the Environment and Foreign Affairs, and a wide array of public sector institutions, to negotiate effectively on behalf of the resource management interests of Mexico.