SU launches Business & Conflict Observatory at the Business School
The launch of the Business & Conflict Observatory (BCO) at the Stellenbosch Business School recognises Stellenbosch University’s (SU) important role in the “global conversation about peaceful development”.
This according to Prof Brian Ganson, who heads the Centre on Conflict and Collaboration at the Business School (which will serve as the BCO’s Secretariat) and is concurrently a professor at SU’s School for Data Science and Computational Thinking. “There is a lot of international support to increase investment in fragile economies, but we are not always confident that the money that flows into these countries will have the intended positive effect – especially if there is instability or conflict.”
The BCO will serve as an independent platform to bring together community and human rights advocates, labour and business leaders, policy makers, international partners, and researchers. By shining a spotlight on problematic practices, the BCO will help build a common understanding of pathways of development that deliver maximum benefit to those in Africa and elsewhere who are often left out and left behind.
The BCO will serve as an independent platform to bring together community and human rights advocates, labour and business leaders, policy makers, international partners, and researchers
The initiative has the support of the United Nations (UN), with Elizabeth Spehar, Assistant Secretary-General: Peacebuilding Support, writing in a letter to Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU: “The BCO not only has the potential to curate data and evidence and facilitate collaborative analysis to better understand the relationship between private sector development, conflict and human security, it can also foster dialogue between diverse stakeholders that can catalyse positive change with respect to the dynamics of private sector development in peacebuilding environments.”
Spehar said the BCO’s collaboration with the UN would include valuable insight to develop guiding peace principles for the private sector, support for members of the Peacebuilding Commission and support for UN capacity at country level through Resident Coordinators’ Offices. “We recognise SU’s strong contributions to global understanding and policy debates on these issues, and we look forward to working together to support outreach efforts and help make the BCO a reality.”
In his response to the UN, De Villiers wrote: “SU is committed to becoming a place where diverse actors can deliberate to move our society from an exclusive past to a social just, sustainable, thriving democratic future.”
He said the BCO would draw on the Business School’s strengths in conflict and collaboration, development finance and future studies, and additionally on SU’s leadership in data sciences, as well as its African and global partnerships.