Business and Peace Agreements

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Summary: Business provisions feature in peace agreements in a range of ways. Peace agreements can refer to the roles that businesses can play in peacebuilding or post-conflict reconstruction efforts. These contributions span from creating employment opportunities and generating economic growth, to actively assisting in processes to help reintegrate former combatants into society.
Peace agreements can also include commitments to reform the business environment. These commitments can help point the way towards reforms, which will assist business development, investment and entrepreneurship. Business environment reform (BER) processes can also help to redress those aspects of the business environment, which underpinned, contributed to, or assisted in perpetuating conflict. Peace agreements will also often provide for forms of political and territorial power-sharing which work to assign capacity over the business environment to different national and sub-national actors.

Key findings:

  • Peace agreements sometimes set out particular roles for business actors in peacebuilding.
  • Commitments to business environment reform can help point the way towards reforms, which will assist business development, investment and entrepreneurship, and redress those aspects of the business environment which underpinned, contributed to, or assisted in perpetuating conflict.
  • Commitments to reforming the business environment also carry risks.
  • Peace agreements will often provide for forms of political and territorial power-sharing.

Recommendations:

  • Peace agreements can provide an opportunity for ensuring that business actors as a constituency are engaged in the peace process, as potential peacebuilders.
  • Business environment reform is often an important part of the post-agreement reconstruction phase, and part of a wider reform agenda.
  • Greater inclusion of business actors in the negotiation stage of peace processes should be promoted.
  • Those seeking to help support reform of the business environment will have to consider carefully the capacity of those actors who are given responsibility for delivering reforms.

Keywords: peace agreements, peace processes, business, economic reforms

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