Discuss the role of business in promoting peace in post conflict societies. (25) As peace negotiations have resulted in the settlement of intrastate violence and wars over the last decade, several societies have been going through difficult phases of post-conflict reconstruction. Negotiated settlement of long-term conflict brings about new challenges as well as opportunities for social transformation. Peace building involves a process comprised of various functions and roles. It often entails a wide range of sequential activities, proceeding from cease-fire, refugee resettlement to economic reconstruction and the advancement of human rights. The end of violent conflict has to be accompanied by rebuilding physical infrastructure and the restoration of essential government functions that provide basic social services. In the long run, stability cannot be achieved without the participation of former adversaries in a democratic political process and socio-economic reform. In the implementation of peace plans, peacemaking (often referred to as a negotiated method of resolving conflict) is complementary to peace building in that the former helps opposing parties reach an agreement on the common tasks of peace building. By being engaged in overcoming fragmentation and reducing animosities, peacemaking contributes to the successful implementation of peace building plans. Differences arising from ambiguities in interpreting the previous agreement have to be resolved by group facilitation, mediation, arbitration or bilateral negotiation (Bercovitch and Jackson, 1997). Peace making can be introduced to the design of post-conflict peace building mechanisms at various levels (Druckman,. 1997). A nation-wide network of peace structure contributes to mitigating widespread political violence in deeply divided societies. As happened in the post-conflict settlement of several Central American countries, the implementation of peace accords can be overseen by national and local peace commissions comprised of various warring factions. After the peace agreement was reached in El Salvador, both the progress and problems of the peace process were discussed by a National Commission for the Consolidation of Peace (COPAZ) whose members included two government representatives and two FMLN members as well as representatives from each party in the Legislative Assembly. Noting that the economic dimensions of armed conflict were often overlooked, Gunter Pleuger(Germany) said they should never be underestimated. The decisions of private companies operating in conflict zones could help a country turn its back on conflict or exacerbate the tensions that had fuelled the conflict in the first place. Private companies also manufactured and sold the main hardware of conflict -– from tanks to small arms, and anti-personnel mines to machetes. Private enterprises and individuals alike were also involved in exploiting and trading in lucrative natural resources.
Council President Gunter Pleuger (Germany), speaking in his national capacity, noted that while the Council had generally not dealt with the issue of corporate citizenship in conflict zones, it had given attention to private sector involvement in particular countries and regions experiencing violent conflict. For example, it had imposed sanctions in an attempt to end hostilities by reducing opportunities for combatant self-financing through trade in conflict commodities, including diamonds and timber Lebanon provides an example of the important role to be played by aid to utility companies in post-conflict economies. In general, utility companies invest for the long-term; and after war, the basic services they provide are necessary for the reconstruction process to begin—and to attract new investment. In order for companies to stimulate new investment in a post-conflict society, transition governments must create conditions capable of attracting international capital and the relocation of companies....
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Harris, Geoff, 'Peace building and Reconstruction after War in Developing Countries ', The Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, 1999, vol. 10, pp. 107-122.
Harris, Peter and Reilly, Ben, Electoral Systems and Conflict in Divided Societies, Washington, D.C.: National Academic Papers on International Conflict Resolution, No. 2., 1999
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