The project seeks to improve the climate for business and private investment in Venezuela by providing alternative forms of commercial dispute resolution. The four components are: (a) a review of laws and regulations governing alternative dispute resolution and submission to Congress of proposals expanding its use; (b) institutional strengthening of the Arbitration Center (CAC) of the Caracas Chamber of Commerce (CCC) to enable it to provide high-quality alternative dispute resolution; (c) training programs to prepare arbitrators, mediators, clerks of arbitration boards, and multipliers; and (d) a promotional campaign and public awareness activities to create demand for the services of the CAC in the business community, among academic, governmental and judicial authorities, and in the community at large. Under component one, a proposal will be drawn up under which other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures, such as mediation, would be granted the same legal status as that enjoyed by commercial arbitration. An ad hoc ethics and policy committee will develop and draft a proposed mediation act, code of ethics, and rules of procedure for the CAC, followed by consensus-building activities among legislative factions. Component two, at the strategic level, supports: (a) preparation of a business plan and implementation of management systems, together with adjustment of the fee schedule, to promote the financial self-sufficiency of the center; (b) drafting and updating of the center's operations; (c) accounting and financial manuals; (d) preparation of the respective forms; and (e) development of an information system for case management and follow-up. At the operational level, component two supports: (a) the setting up of statistical information systems, computerized databases, and electronic documentation; and (b) training of CAC staff in the technical, administrative, and financial management of the center. Component three will fund: (a) the training of arbitrators, mediators, multipliers, and clerks of arbitration boards through courses, workshops, and traineeship programs; (b) development of a certification system; (c) specialized courses for arbitrators and mediators in areas or industries identified by a market study; (d) internships for arbitrators and, especially, mediators; and (e) training for arbitrators and mediators in cooperation with regional chambers, associations of businessmen, and others interested in receiving technical and operational support from the CAC. Component four supports basic information activities: (a) designing a general conference format and conducting at least 10 conferences; (b) preparing and reproducing a basic information package; (c) launching a print publicity campaign; (d) publishing newspaper articles and creating a CAC Web page; and (e) including ADR methods in course materials at selected universities. Next will come dissemination of specialized materials, for which a market study will be carried out, followed by a strategy for promoting ADR services among identified recipients, including campaigns aimed at specified sectors of the business and professional community (including small and medium-sized firms). Also included is development of a method for selecting certain courts to participate, on a pilot basis, in a training program that will enable them to refer certain cases to the CAC for resolution.