Organizzazioni del terzo settore e risoluzione dei conflitti
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
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
processes in particular, drawing on a variety of examples from different contexts. These
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.
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
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
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
3 OECD, Principles for Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations, 2007 (available at www.oecd.org/
OSLO forum 2008 – The OSLO forum Network of Mediators
1 Direct participation
Promoting peace: El Salvador
By the late 1980s, El Salvador had suffered a decade of civil war. Business had opposed
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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,
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.
+1 anno fa
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.
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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