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OSLO forum 2008 – The OSLO forum Network of Mediators

A role for the private

sector in peace processes?

Examples, and implications

for third-party mediation

1

Salil Tripathi and Canan Gündüz

The role of the private sector in different aspects of conflict resolution has received increasing

attention in recent years. This is due to several factors. First, the private sector, domestic

or multinational, is often present in contexts of armed conflict and exposed to its risks and

impacts, which frequently compel it to act. Second, it has the capacities (human, resources,

managerial and technical, among others) to intervene in different ways. Third, what has been

called the ‘privatisation of peace’ is underpinned by the wider global trend of privatising

services and functions traditionally provided by the state or the international community. In

conflict contexts, states have frequently been described as ‘fragile’, that is unwilling or unable

papers to provide essential services and functions to at least part of their populations – leaving the

private sector, in many instances, to perform such roles.

Background This paper will discuss the diverse roles played by the private sector during Track 1 peace

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processes in particular, drawing on a variety of examples from different contexts. These

2

Section 1 Salil Tripathi is Senior Policy Adviser in International Alert’s Peacebuilding Issues Programme, where he works on issues related

to large corporations and their activities in high-risk zones. He has piloted Alert’s conflict sensitive business practice guidelines

at two projects in Colombia and researched the Red Flags initiative. He is a senior visiting fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani

Center for Business and Government at Harvard University. He is also on the advisory councils of the Global Compact working

group on human rights, the governance group of Voluntary Principles, the business and human rights resource centre, the

complicity project of the International commission of Jurists, and the Development Diamonds Initiative. Mr Tripathi has been

researcher on economics and human rights at Amnesty International and has published widely in international newspapers

and magazines and contributed chapters to books on business and human rights. He obtained his masters in business

administration from Dartmouth College in the United States.

Canan Gündüz is Senior Programme Officer with International Alert’s Peacebuilding Issues Programme, where she works

on identifying lessons from business interventions in peacebuilding, and outreach to the domestic private sector in different

conflict-affected countries. She also carries out research and advocacy on improving conflict-sensitivity of economic recovery

interventions by the donor community. Ms Gündüz previously worked for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian

Affairs, and UK DfiD’s Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Department. She holds a Master of Science degree in Development

Studies from the London School of Economics, and among other publications has co-edited a multi-country volume, ‘Local

Business, Local Peace: the Peacebuilding Potential of the Domestic Private Sector.’

2 The paper draws on International Alert’s research and experience on the ground, working with both domestic and multinational

companies in conflict-sensitising their operations, and enabling them to become part of wider peace constituencies. In

particular, we draw and build on Angelika Rettberg’s contribution to a recent research project carried out by International Alert.

See Rettberg, A.,‘Local businesses’ role in formal peace negotiations’ in Banfield, J., Gündüz, C. and Killick, N. (eds) Local

London, 2006. For more information on

Business, Local Peace: the Peacebuilding Potential of the Domestic Private Sector,

International Alert’s work with the business community, see http://www.international-alert.org/our_work/themes/business.

php?page=work&ext=set

16 OSLO forum 2008 – The OSLO forum Network of Mediators

examples illustrate that where the private sector enjoys credibility (sometimes higher than state

parties), has access to conflict parties, and a strategic interest in the resolution of a conflict, it

can become actively involved and have significant impact on the course of a peace process, for

better or worse.

The paper does not take a normative stance on the desirability, legitimacy or appropriateness

of private-sector involvement in peace processes. Rather, it takes the pragmatic stance that

private-sector participation is a reality in many armed conflicts. The question therefore for

other third parties, be they peacemakers, peacekeepers or peacebuilders, is how to relate

to private-sector actors, and how to work with them in such a way that they can contribute

positively to wider peace efforts, rather than doing harm. Under what circumstances private-

sector involvement is desirable and can be effective are critical questions. International conflict

mediators need to be aware of challenges and opportunities arising from the presence of

private-sector actors within their area of operation.

Successful peace negotiations and implementation of peace agreements is often seen to require

business-sector support. Evidence also suggests that if the private sector is not adequately

drawn into a peace process, its interests not taken into account, or its involvement not managed

well, it can play the role of a potential spoiler, undermining peace efforts.

In some cases, the private sector will support a conservative economic agenda in pursuit of

stability and maintaining a status quo, and its economic priorities may call for a small state

apparatus with limited regulatory capacity. This can directly oppose the need to address

certain economic root causes of conflict through reforms (for instance of land ownership and

3

redistribution), and priorities for recovery, such as state-building. The private sector may be Section

benefiting from the status quo, and the conflict may be about changing the status quo. This

might even make business a party to the conflict, and so some elements of the private sector 2

Background

may resent the outcome of peace, while others may invite it.

Finally, the private sector is not monolithic: domestic enterprises range in size and capability. On

one hand they have local knowledge and a greater stake in peace; on the other hand they may papers

have entrenched interests and relationships to protect. Multinationals, while being outsiders, can

bring a certain level of impartiality, but local communities and parties may view them and their

intervention with suspicion.

Types of business participation in Track 1 peace processes

Experience suggests that private-sector participation in peace processes takes many forms:

from direct participation in negotiations to indirect activities aimed at influencing negotiators,

including lobbying (overt and covert), shuttle diplomacy, supporting off-the-record meetings,

disseminating knowledge and participating in multi-sectoral dialogues. Each of these entails

different roles, opportunities and challenges for the private sector, as illustrated by the following

examples.

3 OECD, Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations, 2007 (available at www.oecd.org/

dataoecd/61/45/38368714.pdf). 17

OSLO forum 2008 – The OSLO forum Network of Mediators

1 Direct participation

4

Promoting peace: El Salvador

By the late 1980s, El Salvador had suffered a decade of civil war. Business had opposed

5

former President Jose Napoleon Duarte’s attempts to redistribute wealth. Businesses

were subject to extortion and abductions, and companies suspected armed groups. But

the Salvadoran business environment was changing: the old elite, dependent on land and

agriculture, had begun giving ground to modernising, younger businesspeople. A US-funded

think-tank, Fundación Salvadoreña para el Desarrollo (FUSADES, the Salvadoran Foundation

for Development), supported younger businesses, providing the new sectors of the economy

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with credit. FUSADES also produced research on the costs of conflict to the local business

community, highlighting opportunities that globalisation offered to Salvadoran businesses.

Alfredo Cristiani was one of the young businesspeople who recognised that a market-oriented

economic model could develop only if armed conflict ended. He ran for office promising to

promote peace and integrate El Salvador into the global economy, leading the pro-business

Alianza Republicana Nacional (ARENA) party to electoral victory in the 1989 presidential

elections. The peace accord he signed in 1992 ended the 12-year civil war.

Business supported Cristiani’s negotiations with the Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion

Nacional (FMLN), and the negotiations were swift, leading to the reform of the police, the

military and the judiciary, and demobilisation of armed combatants. Cristiani guaranteed

businesses access to government decision-making processes. His advisory team included

individuals from FUSADES and business executives. Business was engaged in conflict-related

papers research and dedicated resources to support former FMLN combatants’ attendance at

graduate schools to improve their managerial and other skills.

Background In return, FMLN was willing to trade its more contentious economic demands for greater

political and judicial change. The private sector strongly supported the political and judicial

agenda, pushing for substantial reforms. While criticism of economic inequality persists, FMLN

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Section guerrillas have not resumed fighting, and today remain part of the political process.

Resisting peace: Guatemala

In contrast, a decade after the 1996 peace accords signed between the Guatemalan

government and the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional de Guatemala (URNG) it is clear that

the socio-economic commitments underpinning this accord have not been met. Guatemalan

democratisation began in the 1980s, with calls to limit the military’s role in politics. The private-

sector organisation, Comité Coordinador de Asociaciones Agrícolas, Comerciales, Industriales

y Financieras (CACIF) persuaded the military to accept economic reforms and democratic

transition, leading to the election of a civilian president, Vinicio Cerezo, in November 1985.

4 Adapted from Rettberg, op.cit.

5 See Dijkstra, G., ‘The limits of economic policy in El Salvador’ in Pelupessy, W. and Weeks, J. (eds) Economic Maladjustment in

St Martin’s Press, New York, 1993.

Central America,

6 Ministerio de Planificación y Coordinación del Desarrollo Económico y Social (MIPLAN), Plan de Reconstrucción Nacional Vol. I,

MIPLAN, San Salvador, 1992.

18 OSLO forum 2008 – The OSLO forum Network of Mediators

Founded in 1957, CACIF evolved from representing traditional landed classes to supporting

modern businesses keen to link Guatemala with international markets. Younger businesspeople

– sensitised by criticism that the private sector had tolerated human-rights abuses in the past –

wanted to set up the Comisión Empresarial de Paz (CEPAZ, the Business Peace Commission)

in 1994, to lead CACIF’s positions in the peace negotiations. CEPAZ would monitor and lobby

the peace process, and also, in turn, persuade the private sector to support the process.

But there were profound internal divisions within the business community. Guatemalan

conflict was of low intensity, and confined to only certain parts of the country, except during

1979 and 1983. Many businesses believed in a military solution, and considered negotiations

unnecessary. Due to these divisions, CEPAZ could not, as a group, become part of the

Asamblea de la Sociedad Civil (Assembly of Civil Society), a coalition representing diverse

interests in the peace process. CEPAZ could not even prevent the Coordinadora Nacional

Agropecuaria (CONAGRO) from withdrawing from CACIF in protest about its involvement in the

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peace process.

2 Indirect participation

Building trust: Mozambique and Colombia

Getting parties to agree to negotiations in the first place, overcoming mistrust and prejudices,

requires a significant effort, often launched from different sides. In Mozambique, executives

of Lonrho, the Africa-based mining conglomerate, shuttled between, and socialised with,

representatives of the warring RENAMO (South-African supported and anti-communist

armed group) and FRELIMO (official, anti-colonial and pro-communist armed group). Lonrho’s Section

then chief executive, ‘Tiny’ Rowland, supplied the company jet to transport RENAMO

representatives to the negotiating table in Rome and the company financed RENAMO’s 2

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participation in the talks. In Colombia, business leaders held off-the-record meetings of Background

multisectoral groups (including leftist and rightist insurgents, labour and Church leaders, and

minority groups such as indigenous and African-Colombian communities) to generate space for

developing personal relationships. In South Africa, businesspeople took members of both sides

on fishing weekends to facilitate personal encounters and build relations. papers

Providing good offices: South Africa

Companies that operated in apartheid-era South Africa continue to face calls for reparations

for the abuses suffered by the majority community between 1948 and 1991. Intentionally or

not, many businesses contributed to the implementation of apartheid and some benefited from

it. However, some businesses played an important role in helping to end apartheid. A small

group of business leaders initiated a series of meetings with the apartheid government and with

a wide range of formal and informal political groupings, including black political leaders who

enjoyed popular support.

7 Vielman, G. A., private edition, Guatemala City, 1998. CONAGRO even sued the negotiators for treason.

Tiempo Perdido,

8 Vines, A., Conciliation

The Business of Peace: ‘Tiny’ Rowland, Financial Incentives and the Mozambican Settlement,

Resources. See http://www.c-r.org/our-work/accord/mozambique/business-peace.php. 19

OSLO forum 2008 – The OSLO forum Network of Mediators

This group’s involvement began with businesses encouraging a debate on the country’s

economic and political future. The government’s repressive environment and the opposition

leaders’ practical difficulties, many being in hiding, exiled or in jail, made intermediation difficult.

In late 1988, business leaders met representatives of the Mass Democratic Movement in

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Broederstroom, and formed the Consultative Business Movement (CBM). Initially, this group

focused on building relationship with key political players, such as the banned African National

Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

The impasse was broken only when the CBM and South African Council of Churches

facilitated an inclusive peace process. Its first meeting was hosted by a leading South African

conglomerate, Barlow Rand Ltd, and a Barlow executive (John Hall, who also chaired the

chamber of commerce) co-chaired the meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The long

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negotiations began.

Through its impartial conduct and scrupulous transparency, the CBM established credibility

and legitimacy among the parties, and as a result was asked to provide the secretariat and

administrative support for the path-breaking Convention for a Democratic South Africa

(CODESA) process. When CODESA was deadlocked in 1992 over the distribution of powers

between central and regional governments, the CBM, with the approval of all parties, brought

together local academics and international experts to help break the impasse. The report

produced by the group helped to influence the parties’ thinking and, according to some

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observers, shaped the final agreement on the issue.

As elections got closer, political brinkmanship increased. A month before the historic 1994

papers polls, the IFP threatened to withdraw from the elections. The CBM was asked to manage a

12

process of international mediation. While the high-profile mediators – Henry Kissinger, former

Background US Secretary of State, and Lord Carrington, former British Foreign Secretary – could not secure

an agreement, lower-profile mediators continued an informal shuttle diplomacy supported by

CBM, leading to an agreement among the three major political parties, and resulting in the

elections being finally held as scheduled.

2

Section Convening power: Northern Ireland

Business can play an important role in securing popular support for a peace process in a

politically charged atmosphere. In 1996, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) joined six

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other trade and business organisations in Northern Ireland to create the Group of Seven

(GoS). The Group used its collective authority to advance one message: Northern Ireland must

make a ‘stark choice between a future of peace and prosperity and a destiny as one of the

9 Consultative Business Movement (CBM), CBM,

Submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa,

Johannesburg, 1997.

10 Eloff, T. and Hall, J., ‘NBI note for the record’ (informal briefing, Sri Lanka First/IA visit to South Africa, 1–5 May 2004), 2004.

11 Friedman, S. (ed.), The Long Journey: South Africa’s Quest for a Negotiated Settlement, Ravan Press, Johannesburg, 1993.

12 Friedman, S. and Atkinson, D. (eds) ‘The small miracle: South Africa’s negotiated settlement’, South African Review 7, Ravan

Press, Johannesburg, 1994.

13 The Hotel Federation, the Institute of Directors, the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Northern Ireland

Growth Challenge, the Northern Ireland Economic Council and the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

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DESCRIZIONE DISPENSA

Dispensa al corso di Teorie e tecniche della trasformazione dei conflitti della Prof.ssa Maria Luisa Maniscalco. Trattasi del saggio di Salil Tripathi e Canan Gündüz dal titolo "A role for the private sector in peace processes? Examples, and implications for third-party mediation" all'interno del quale si discute dell'importanza del ruolo delle organizzazioni del terzo settore nei processi di peacekeeping e peacebuilding.


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Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in relazioni internazionali
SSD:
A.A.: 2010-2011

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher Atreyu di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Teorie e tecniche della trasformazione dei conflitti e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Roma Tre - Uniroma3 o del prof Maniscalco Maria Luisa.

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