Thursday, 17 November 2011

An ‘extractive’ perspective on operating in areas of conflict

By Vivienne Benson

So far our Conflicting Interests Seminar Series has heard from three speakers. Interestingly all their talks focused on the nature of the extractive industry operating in areas of conflict or fragile states, albeit coming from different perspectives:

Some key points have arisen:
  • UN ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework – more widely known as the John Ruggie Framework is a relatively new initiative offering clear guiding principles for businesses to follow
  • The idea of due diligence is recurring – companies should adhere to a set of high standards when operating in a fragile area, often going beyond state ‘regulation’, as the governing body is not always able to enforce rules, or not interested in doing so
  • Considering business impact on the community is paramount, as in vulnerable circumstances businesses can either help or exacerbate a volatile environment with their actions.
This series will continue on 22 November, with Kate Meagher, LSE Researcher and IDS Alumna discussing ‘How bandits make business: informal enterprise, unemployment and instability in Nigeria’.

Hugh Elliott, International Government Relations Manager of Anglo American will conclude the series on 29 November by addressing management and conflict prevention from an insider’s perspective.

*The speakers are all interviewed and seminars are recorded to go online – so have a listen...