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Workshop Explores Business Practices and Policy Responses in Conflict Zones

2004-10-12 

On 7-8 October, close to 40 leading experts from the academic and public policy community, companies, the UN system, and governments gathered in New York for an expert workshop on “Conflict-Sensitive Business Practices and Public Policy Responses”.  This meeting was part of the continuing multi-stakeholder dialogue on the role of the private sector in zones of conflict.
 
This event was the first of two expert group meetings the Global Compact is convening. They are part of a broad ongoing consultation process to obtain input toward the development of a comprehensive policy paper that will provide recommendations to public sector actors in this area.
 
The policy paper’s objectives are:

(1)   to develop actionable recommendations regarding the ways in which the UN system, international financial institutions, and governments can further engage with the private sector in conflict prevention and peace building, and
(2)   to stimulate a debate within the UN system and governments on how they can work to provide an enabling environment for conflict-sensitive commercial activity in unstable environments around the world.

Participants of the workshop explored various issues, among them:

-  Options for Governments to promote the implementation of existing voluntary initiatives in the areas of economic governance and security (i.e. the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative and the US-UK Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights).
-  The need for public financial institutions to make Conflict Impact Assessments a requirement for access to export credit and project finance.
-  Ways to create the conditions for on-the-ground collaboration between the UN and business in conflict-related situations.

There was a strong consensus among participants to go beyond the development of policy recommendations. It was suggested that the Global Compact should adopt a practical case-specific approach in a one conflict-prone country in order to apply policy recommendations and to scale-up existing initiatives.
 
For more information, please contact Helen Schulte (schulte@un.org).
 
Please click here for the agenda and a list of participants.