Business Actors in Mediation Processes

TitelBusiness Actors in Mediation Processes
Typ der PublikationBook
Untertitel / SerientitelPeace Mediaton Essentials
AutorInnenSguaitamatti, D, Iff, A, Alluri, RM, Mason, SJA
Anzahl Seiten14 pages
VerlagMediation Support Project (Center for Security Studies, ETH Zurich and swisspeace, Bern)

Key Messages
- Business actors can contribute to peace processes by influencing the parties, mobilizing the wider community, providing financial or logistical support to the process, acting as experts by bringing knowledge to the process, monitoring the implementation of the peace agreement, and exploring ways to create jobs.
- Business actors can promote peace or exacerbate war: Businesspeople are often seen as pragmatic actors with an interest in peace per se, without any pre-conditions attached to it. Nevertheless, some business actors may benefit from the “war economy” and therefore be initially opposed to a peace process. The challenge for a mediator is to recognize and seize appropriate opportunities to engage them. This has to be done with caution, as a mediator’s association with a business actor can also tarnish the mediator’s impartiality.
- Mediators need to analyze the changing structure of the national economy, and the business actors’ “logic”: By understanding the pre-war economy and war economy, it is possible to see how business actors can support the transition to a “peace” economy. Mediators need to assess the “logic“and changing behavior of “old” and “new” economic actors as well as the interests and vulnerabilities of local and international business actors in the conflict area. Mediators may differentiate between:

  • • Traditional domestic business actors were central in the economy of the country before the conflict escalated. If their business suffered due to the conflict, they may have a particular interest in returning to peace.
  • • New domestic business actors may have benefited economically from the war economy, and will not wish to lose their wealth. As there are limits to the growth of the war economy, these actors may become interested in regulation and governance.
  • • International business actors with a stake inside the conflict country assess risk and profit in various ways. Some may be more “captive” to the country, e.g., if they have invested in infrastructure, while others remain less “captive” to the local context.
  • • International business actors with a stake outside the conflict country have no direct business relationship with the country in which the conflict is taking place. They may nevertheless support a peace process for reputational or commercial benefits at home or internationally.

- The mediator must take a proactive approach: To get business actors engaged, mediators can identify and build on common interests, develop an “open-door” information policy to invite support, or use moral pressure. Including economic issues on the negotiation agenda can create an entry point for involving business actors.

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