Global Agenda Council on Conflict Prevention 2012-2013
Armed conflict has a grave impact on human life, economic growth, development and political stability. According to the 2011 World Development Report, the average cost of civil war equals +30 years of gross domestic product (GDP) growth of a medium-sized developing country. UN peacekeeping resources reached historic highs of US$ 7.83 billion and 96,305 uniformed personnel in 2012. Environmental damage from conflicts is costly and can be irreversible, as in cases of oil spills and biodiversity loss from mines and fires.
The nature and scope of conflict are changing. Research suggests about 40% of intrastate conflicts are related to or fuelled by natural resources, and that resource-rich countries are 50% more likely to relapse into conflict. In countries that have previously experienced civil war, a relapse into violence is the primary manifestation of conflict. Drug trafficking and criminal activities provide revenue and motive for conflict actors to continue violence. Peace deals unaccompanied by development are more likely to remain fragile and raise the spectre of violent relapses.
Yet many promising trends in peacebuilding should be leveraged. To curtail resources flowing into conflict situations, more nations are applying legislation obliging companies and public procurement to improve their due diligence. The transparency brought by social media and global telecommunications help peacebuilding actors respond more quickly to violence. New methods of tracking exploitation of natural resources can reduce opportunities for funding armed conflicts.
The international community must continue to innovate on conflict prevention strategies. While many organizations have expertise in dealing with specific conflicts, the need to combine resources among peacebuilders is an urgent priority. Business, which has been largely absent from peace processes, should embrace a constructive role in ensuring stability and peace, by: providing economic opportunities and employment; supporting strong institutions for governance; and engaging with the communities where their operations have an impact.
- 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by cycles of political and criminal violence.
- The Colombian insurgent group FARC reportedly earned US$ 140 million from drug production in 2002.
“Any political agreement remains fragile unless the resultant dividends reach the wider population. It is at this crossroads that peacebuilding is most acute.”
Judy Cheng-Hopkins, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support
“There is no doubt that unemployment is a key driver of conflict. Consequently, job creation has entered the peacebuilding arena as peacemakers have come to realize that the business community should not only help create jobs, but also systematically inform the discussion on how to stabilize fragile states.”
Anne Gloor, Founder and Director, PeaceNexus
International Day of Peace
21 September 2012
High Level Side-Event on “Peacebuilding: Way Towards Sustainable Peace and Security”, chaired by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh
25 September 2012
UN General Assembly in New York
UN Global Compact MENA Regional Forum
7-8 November 2012
World Economic Forum on East Asia
3-5 June 2013
The Council on Conflict Prevention is committed to fostering business and peacebuilding collaboration, fuelling new and more effective peacebuilding alliances.
Business can be a force for peace. Peacebuilding efforts have traditionally been the realm of governments, while NGOs and international organizations like the UN, a major link in the chain (the economic and productive sector) was sorely missing. Business has also been a counter-productive force in fragile societies through irresponsible practices, corruption and the exploitation of resources. Thus, the engagement of business in peacebuilding must be carefully constructed.
- Providing easily accessible information for companies operating in resource-rich, conflict-affected areas
- Increasing the dissemination of positive experiences or best practices of businesses acting in the interests of peacebuilding
- Taking advantage of the crucial transition in Myanmar, for the peacebuilding community to work with the private sector to ensure new foreign direct investment is sustainable
- The Post-conflict Peacebuilding Business Resource Initiative, spearheaded by the Council in collaboration with the UN Peace Building Support Office (UNPBSO), will build a Web portal providing accessible information for companies operating in conflict-affected environments.
- A research project will provide advice and guidance on the role of the private sector in fragile states, to generate insights and best practices related to the issues facing business and peacebuilders.
- The Strategic Platform for Peace and Investment in Myanmar (under development) will promote dialogue and transparency for new incursions by multinational companies in the extractive sector.
- Ideas and views relevant to the next phase of a global development agenda will be generated, superseding the Millennium Development Goals after 2015, emphasizing the significance of conflict prevention and the link between conflict, peace and development.
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