International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Workshop for reviewing options and alternatives

Length of Workshop:

Approximately 2 to 4 hours of the second SAP strategic thinking meeting


Initially in plenary to describe the process but followed by small breakout groups. After the plenary session, SAP Development Team members divide into groups of between 3 and 8 (possibly based around priority transboundary problems or goals). Mixed discipline groups work well – ensure that the group members working on this process cover all the areas of expertise needed. In addition to natural scientists, social, legal, political and economic experts will be required. Preferably, the Project Manager will define the groups prior to the workshop. At the end of the group work, each working group should report back in plenary.


Selection of ideas, opportunities or solutions that best meet the needs and realities of the region

The Task:

In Breakout groups:

  1. Decide on a facilitator/chair and a rapporteur and ensure all members know each other.
  2. Facilitator introduces the review matrix that the group will be asked to complete (see above).
  3. The breakout groups review (and if necessary amend) the ideas, opportunities or solutions and then complete the table row by row, except for the ‘Relative Priority’ column which is completed by the breakout group once all the proposed solutions have been examined.
  4. The facilitator of each group should ensure that his or her group takes its decisions by consensus; the objective is not to exclude any genuinely viable ideas, just to elaborate them further.
  5. Groups should be encouraged to move forward if they become stuck on a particular point, and to return to it if time permits.
  6. Where lack of information makes it impossible to complete one of the columns, information can be supplied after the meeting but there must be a clear agreement on who takes responsibility for this. At this stage, the tables should be seen as a ‘work in progress’.

Report back:

In plenary, ask for a 5 to 10 minute report from each group to present the key findings. Allow time for a critical discussion within the group and ensure all comments are captured by a rapporteur.


  • Completed tables of prioritised options and alternatives that meet the needs and realities of the region
  • Annotated list of discussion comments from SAP Development Team