Violent conflict has economic costs in addition to human ones. Businesses of varying sizes and types all benefit from peaceful environments, where people are able and willing to buy and sell goods without the threat of violence. Businesses therefore have a strong incentive to see an end to political unrest and insecurity.
In Bangladesh, political unrest has led to widespread disruptions such as blockades and strikes that have cut off businesses from the market. In the run-up to and following the 2015 elections, the economy was brought to a halt after a series of violent strikes across the country. The strikes led to a blockade of transport as well as violence on the streets. As a result, a vocal business bloc emerged, pushing for an end to the disturbances. This bloc took steps to seek resolutions to conflict during periods of instability, including through high court injunctions and peace rallies.
The private sector has the potential to be a major advocate for peace in Bangladesh at a time of continued uncertainty. With partners, we harness this potential and help businesses become more sensitive to the impact of their investments and practices on conflict by providing training and advice. We also bring together businesses, politicians and civil society groups at workshops and conferences to discuss their concerns and come up with solutions that promote peace and resolve conflict. Through networks established with our partners we connect businesses with communities and local civil society groups, and create a space for collaboration and discussion to build a more stable environment.