INSIGHT: UN Roundtable on Peace-responsive Investing Through the Private Sector

Lion’s Head Co-CEO, Christopher Egerton-Warburton this week participated in a roundtable on ‘Peace-responsive Investing Through the Private Sector’ convened by the UN Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) in New York, ahead of the High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on Financing for Peacebuilding. Christopher was joined on the panel by chair Preeti Seenha, and speakers Sherwin Das and Samuel Tumiwa.

During the roundtable, Christopher contributed findings and recommendations from Lion’s Head Global Partners’ recent feasibility study generously funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and in partnership with the UNPBSO and GIZ’s Stabilisation Platform, as part of the #Investing for Peace (I4P) initiative.

Our recommendations included (i) Member States should work together to pilot peace positive investing through a specialised investment vehicle, and (ii) Member States should support efforts to test and refine approaches to measuring and maximising peace impact from investment, including pilots of the draft Peace Impact Framework for Investment prepared during our study.

We look forward to continuing the discussion on a way forward that translates dialogue in New York into peace impact from investment globally. Many thanks to Aanchal Bhatia and PBSO for coordinating the roundtable, and to Germany and South Africa for sponsoring the event.

Key Messages:

- Representatives from private sector, UN entities, civil society, as well as Member States recognized that the private sector can be a valuable partner in peacebuilding.

- Recognizing that business can both contribute to, as well as potentially undermine peace, speakers called for the development of tools and frameworks to measure the impact of business on peace, insisting that these should be informed by local contexts to be meaningful.

- Speakers underscored the growing momentum towards peace-responsive investments in conflict-affected contexts, many of them citing examples of successful models of profitable4investments in such settings, and discussing how they can be scaled up and multiplied to provide economic stability in these areas.

- Many participants highlighted the need for increasing private investment in conflict affected countries, which can be achieved by showing investors that investments can be peace-positive and profitable at the same time, and that peace investment is possible and instrumental in helping shoulder the high demand for funding for peace building.

- Emphasis was placed on creating capital to serve humanity, with the prioritization of peace positive development initiatives. Calls were made for the establishment of peace investment frameworks that encompass good practices for investment, research and social benefit for local communities.

- Increased collaboration between the UN and International Financial Institutions (IFIs), with local actors’ contribution and community engagement, as well as the establishment of accountability frameworks for private investments, can increase stability, create greater trust in governments and build economically viable societies.

- Some of the participants stressed the need to make available to the private sector evidence based reports and conflict-sensitive analysis that could help in their investment decision making processes, and help them be conflict sensitive and generate peace-positive outcomes. They noted that a vibrant private sector is a good indicator of stability and can be involved directly in conflict resolution, e.g., through peace initiatives, dialogue, mediation and youth programmes.

- The Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) is uniquely positioned to facilitate collaboration among the UN, IFIs and the private sector to invest in conflict-affected countries with a focus on peacebuilding, and in developing global norms for peace-positive investments. The PBC could also help connect peace initiatives with private sector actors in a way that benefits local communities, utilising peacebuilding tools at the local level.

Written by
Christopher Egerton-Warburton
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