Investment, trade and aid can have adverse effects on local communities and economies, undermining peace and even creating or exacerbating conflict.

We help companies to assess the risks and impacts of their operations on local communities.

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Introduction: 

Investment, trade and aid can generate significant economic wealth and help support social development. However, they can also have adverse effects on local communities and economies, undermining peace and even creating or exacerbating conflict.

We help companies to assess the risks and impacts of their operations on local communities, to ensure their activities do not fuel tensions or violence. We advise governments and international institutions on how to enhance the peacebuilding potential of their economic policies and projects. We also support local communities to shape and benefit from economic development.

Our work is important because investment and trade can help support peace and development, but those who invest in conflict-prone and high-risk places often lack the skills and experience to avoid exacerbating instability and violence.

Why: 

Businesses that invest in conflict-prone or high-risk areas often experience reduced access to markets and capital, damaged infrastructure and direct attacks on personnel and assets.

By proactively adopting policies and practices which are sensitive to local conflict contexts, comply with human rights standards and follow best practices in corporate sustainability, businesses can minimise any adverse impact their conduct and investment could have on local communities. In doing so, they can also reduce risks to their operations and contribute to local stability and development.

It is also important to better utilise the positive role that domestic and international investment and trade can play in supporting peace and development in conflict-prone countries. This needs to be reflected in the international community’s economic recovery efforts and government policies and practices, which should promote and support activities that encourage economic recovery and private sector development.

Finally, it is important to empower local populations and civil society organisations to better protect their rights, and to shape and benefit from the economic activities affecting their communities.

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Putting the peace and economy framework into practice

Taken as a whole, the framework for integrating peacebuilding into economic development set out in my blog post of 10 February may seem disempowering. It explains the importance of integrating peace into economic development. It identifies areas where actions can help shape a more peace-conducive economy, and broad outcome indicators thereof. But it also makes clear that many of these factors are largely structural and interlinked, thus resilient to change.

Peace blooms in London

International Alert has marked the launch of the first in a new series of peace assessments with a range of engaging events and activities about Kenya in Hoxton Gallery - a converted railway arch in east London.

A framework for peace-conducive economic development

In my previous post, I suggested five ways in which change happens, of relevance to those trying to harness economic development for peace. This is something I am exploring as I write an International Alert report on peace-conducive economic development. That still leaves open the question of how to define a ‘peace-conducive economy’, and how to promote progress towards it?

How peace gets stronger in society

I am writing an International Alert report about how peacebuilding can be more routinely and effectively integrated into economic development, for publication in mid-year. In other words, going beyond conflict-sensitive business practice, to promote peace-conducive economic policy and economic activities. I plan to publish a few blog posts over the next few weeks related to this, and am particularly interested in feedback, challenge, ideas and examples for the report. In this post, I summarise five ‘lessons learned’ that seem particularly relevant to this subject.

Making business work for peace

This year marks the tenth anniversary of International Alert’s seminal guidance on conflict-sensitive business practice for extractive industries (CSBP).

Campaign truck promotes a ‘safer city’ in Kampala

From 19-21 November, International Alert ran a vibrant campaign in the Ugandan capital of Kampala to engage thousands of local people in conversations about making their city a safer place.

Extracting peace

This paper argues that the government of Liberia’s current approach to managing investment in natural resources is having an adverse effect on the country’s social, political and economic dynamics, which is increasing the risk of conflict.

Promoting peace through cuisine

International Alert has launched a new initiative with the Caucasus Business and Development Network (CBDN) called ‘Recipes for Peace’.

Trading with neighbours

Download the report, Trading with neighbours, here

International Alert’s new report, Trading with neighbours, examines the realities of trade relations between business communities in Uganda and South Sudan*.