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Business, NGOs tackle responsible investment in conflict-affected countries


8 June 2009, Istanbul – Addressing the multi-faceted challenges associated with investments in high-risk settings, more than 60 representatives of global businesses, institutional investors asset managers and civil society organisations met in Istanbul today for an expert consultation hosted by the United Nations Global Compact.

Following recent debates over the role of foreign investment in conflict zones, from Myanmar to Sudan, the meeting marks the first step in a long-term initiative to create a working platform for business, investors and civil society. The main goal is to share knowledge, align expectations and improve standards for due diligence, performance and compliance, so that risks of doing business in insecure, if not openly conflict-affected environments may be anticipated, managed, and reduced.

The day’s discussions covered a wide range of issues, from the global investment climate in the context of the economic crisis to the ongoing debate of divestment strategies and engagement approaches.

“There is a critical need to develop a better understanding of the often very sensitive role of investment in conflict situations,” said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. “With a diverse group of participants, from China to the US, today’s consultation is a unique contribution to the ongoing effort in advancing environmental, social and governance considerations in investment decision-making everywhere.”