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Business for Peace: The New Paradigm of International Peacebuilding and Development
The new 'Business For Peace' (B4P) paradigm urges multinational corporations (MNCs) to enter conflict zones and fragile post-conflict environments as an alternative to traditional development aid. While B4P's positive impact through economic opening and Corporate Social Responsibility is assumed, corporate presence can instead exacerbate conflict dynamics in certain settings. As B4P is becoming a standardized component throughout all multilateral development aid activities per the United Nations Global Compact B4P platform and the UN's 'Delivering As One' mandate, we argue that bringing B4P into the forefront of research on business, development, and conflict is essential. In this article, we unpack the relationships between business, conflict and liberal peace politics that led to the B4P framework. We then show how five major debates influence B4P today: if MNCs should be peacebuilders; if so, what should they do; how do we define and model 'peace' activities; how businesses navigate conflict economies; and how businesses engage with informal economies. We then show how these discussions guide the international community's multi-billion dollar development agenda and influence how businesses see their new role as peacebuilders and peacemakers. We conclude with suggestions for forward research on this rapidly emerging topic.