Conflict I Fragility I Resilience
Human suffering in contexts of conflict and fragility are unimaginable. Today, because of the globalisation of insecurity, where conflict and fragility in one context affects national security on the other side of the world - for example ISIS inspired terrorist attacks in cities far from Iraq or Syria, it has become obvious that building peace in these contexts is a shared global responsibility.
Donors are redoubling efforts build resilience at the individual, community and societal levels to counter conflict and fragility. Relevant policies and programming - from conflict prevention and peace-building, CVE, rule of law, access to justice, security sector reform, human rights, modern slavery and trafficking, bribery and corruption, etc, need to be aligned and interventions made collaborative and coherent in order to maximise potential for success. Otherwise donors act in silos and become part of the problem. It is also hard to determine which interventions actually work in these contexts, so we need to concentrate on indicators to measure impact and build more evidence of what works and what doesn’t.
Companies are also deeply concerned by contexts of conflict and fragility. Peace is simply better for business. The heightened security threats and compromised rule of law, which are features of these contexts, make the practicalities of doing business very hard. In addition, the risk that business practice might contribute to conflict and fragility is high. For example, advancing a commercial venture can lead to grievances, fuel conflict and exacerbate fragility. Simply hiring a person from one grouping over an other can lead to feelings of exclusion and retribution. Risks of business also being complicit to human rights abuses, modern slavery and trafficking, either in their actual business, or in their supply chain, or engaging in bribery and corruption are all heightened in contexts of conflict and fragility, where meaningful oversight of business practice - especially the actions of agents, partners and suppliers, is hindered by the opaque political contexts and lack of security.
Businesses operating in a ‘conflict-sensitive’ way and implementing conflict-sensitive due diligence processes and compliance frameworks to guard against corporate interference in conflict dynamics, or engagement in human rights abuses, modern slavery, trafficking, bribery and corruption, is a company’s only way to minimise risk in these dangerous and difficult operating environments and the only positive defence to accusations of malpractice. In today’s hyper-vigilant world where all corporate action is increasingly under the microscope, and where brand and share value can be destroyed after publication of one piece of investigative journalism, these ethical approaches to business practice need to become the mainstream-only approach.