Private Sector and Prevention Roundtable Discussion

On October 2, 2018, the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) partnered with the Social Science Research Council, the Stanley Foundation, and the BMW Group to hold a roundtable discussion event entitled “The Private Sector and the Prevention Agenda: A comparative view of Latin America and Africa.” Convened in Bogot√°, Colombia, the event brought together 22 participants from around the world to share experiences and consider ways in which businesses can support national and international atrocity prevention priorities.

The wide range of participant profiles, including private sector professionals, representatives of foundations which fund atrocity prevention initiatives, academics, and civil society experts, allowed for a robust and productive discussion. The exchange of first-hand experiences, difficulties, and civic realities facilitated a focus on steps that can be taken to address existing challenges in both Latin American and Africa. Within this context, participants emphasized the need for businesses to move past traditional corporate social responsibility frameworks and expectations into a more active role in shaping societies that mitigate the risk of mass atrocities.

The event was divided into four primary thematic segments. The first was dedicated to a general overview of the relationship between the private sector and prevention. The following segment covered ways in which the private sector prevention can work effectively in fragile states and high-risk situations, with case studies from West and Central African States, as well as the best methods for international and national-level civil society to engage with businesses on prevention issues.

The third thematic discussion turned to Latin America, where the historical context of the private sector’s relationship to authoritarian regimes and the ways in which this relationship has changed over time were considered. The event’s final segment was dedicated to the private sector’s relationship to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. To this end, the 16th Sustainable Development Goal, “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions,” inspired discussions on the ways in which businesses can contribute to the protection of human rights and the prevention of atrocities using approaches conducive to the promotion of sustainable peace. Participants considered this within the context of Latin America and Africa, with a focus on specific recommendations for regional and sub-regional action.