Mass Violence and Atrocities | Discussion Takeaways

The Power of the Private Sector in Preventing Atrocities and Promoting the Responsibility to Protect

November 2016


Businesses often have great power and influence in the communities in which they operate. However, the private sector has been minimally engaged as a partner in atrocity prevention.

Atrocity prevention experts and policymakers at a recent roundtable agreed businesses can play a positive role in atrocity prevention, as they did in Tunisia in 2011 and Kenya in 2012–2013. However, further case studies could help illuminate when, where, and how the private sector could be effective. They could also underscore just how important it is for businesses at local and multinational levels to participate in atrocity prevention.

Participants also recommended that businesses coordinate and collaborate with other state and nonstate actors, and develop engagement strategies. Open communication and positive relations between business, state, and nonstate actors will be key to this process.

On October 26–28, 2016, experts and policymakers from academia, government, international organizations, and civil society gathered at the Airlie Center outside Washington, DC, to participate in the Stanley Center’s 57th annual Strategy for Peace Conference. This year’s conference featured autonomous roundtables where experts focused on policy ideas, challenges, and recommendations in four key global issue areas: climate change, genocide prevention, nuclear security, and global governance.

This policy memo captures the major discussion points and policy recommendations from the roundtable “The Power of the Private Sector in Preventing Atrocities and Promoting the Responsibility to Protect,” chaired by Conor Seyle, research director at One Earth Future.