The Peacebuilding Potential of the Domestic and Private Sector
The domestic private sector has a significant role – and stake – in contributing to peacebuilding. Businesses can either aggravate or alleviate conflict issues through their own practices while, at the same time, through their horizontal and vertical linkages to other sectors of society (political, economic and civilian) have huge potential to exercise influence on the building and safeguarding of peace. International Alert’s publication Local Business, Local Peace: the Peacebuilding Potential of the Domestic Private Sector collects evidence from over 20 conflict countries on the different responses businesses can have to conflict and initiatives to contribute to peace.
Given the complex linkages between business and conflict at the national and local levels, it is imperative that conflict sensitivity shape the interventions international development organisations make in local economies, with, for instance, pro-poor private sector development initiatives or private sector development programmes. Without a conflict-sensitive lens, these interventions could inadvertently exacerbate conflict. With some exceptions, to date, little has been done to extend conflict-sensitive approaches to development into the economic sphere.