Business plays key role in conflict resolution

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 9:

A high level UN official today said that business can play key role in the conflict resolution.

Mathew Kahane, UN resident coordinator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) while speaking at a seminar on ‘Cost of Conflict in Nepal’ organised jointly by United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) and Nepal Foundation of Advanced Studies (NEFAS) here today said that the role of business, in particular, could be crucial for good and for ill. “Their decisions — on investment and employment, on relations with local communities — can induce a government to turn its back on conflict or help pacify the tensions that fuel conflict,” he said, “It is important to have a growing economy where people could share as poor people, just like the rich, wish to live in peace. Cost of conflict is reflected clearly by the reduction in economic growth. Using a conservative estimate, one year of conflict reduces a growth rate by 2.2 per cent.”

Executive director of NEFAS Ananda P Shrestha, said that the conflict in Nepal has acquired such alarming proportions that it is hard to imagine whether a dialogue can really take place between the two conflicting sides. Going even by conservative estimates, the cost of conflict is regarded to be phenomenal, so much so that the donor community may be compelled to rethink aid to Nepal, he added. Industrialist Rajendra Khetan stressed on the need to have tripartite power balance in resolving the existing conflict. “Education sector is the most victimised sector,” Khetan said adding that other sectors such as tourism have been hit hard by the conflict. Presenting a paper Bharat Pokharel of department of economics, Patan Multiple Campus said that conflict and economy are interlinked.