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Symposium Addresses Conflict-Sensitive Business Practices


High-level representatives of the business community, governments, the UN, civil society, and the academic and public policy community met on 14 December at UN Headquarters to explore ways to scale-up cooperation in support of conflict-sensitive business practices.
The symposium, co-organized by the German Government, the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, and the Global Compact Office, was instrumental in contributing to:

• Clarifying the respective roles of all actors in society in ensuring that business operations avoid negative impacts and contribute to conflict prevention and peace-building;
• Showcasing promising multi-stakeholder initiatives aimed at conflict-sensitive business practices and proposing ways to scale them up (Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, Kimberley Process);
• Calling the attention of Governments and the UN system to the need for more effective public policy responses in order to order to harness the positive potential of business in zones of conflict.

Presentations focused on the challenges faced in countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and ways to tackle these challenges through multi-stakeholder approaches and public policy responses.
This symposium was a key follow-up event to various recent policy initiatives launched at the UN, including the April 2004 Security Council debate on the topic. It also provided input to a policy report currently under development, commissioned by the Global Compact Office as part of its ongoing policy dialogue on “The Role of the Private Sector in Zones of Conflict.” The central objective of the report, to be published in early 2005, is to identify avenues for improved public policy responses in support of conflict-sensitive business practices. An expert group meeting convened by the Global Compact Office on 13 December, served to receive feedback on the report’s preliminary recommendations.
Please contact Ms. Helen Schulte (schulte@un.org) for more information.
Please click here to download the agenda of the meeting.