Much ink has been spilt on arguing that economic issues trigger conflict, but what is certain is that the economy can also contribute to peace. This is the rationale behind International Alert’s ‘Business advocacy for peace’ project, which operates in the South Caucasus and Turkey.
The project’s goal is two-fold: to energise policy debate on economic dimensions of peacebuilding within the region; and to strengthen the Caucasus Business and Development Network (CBDN), a group promoting regional economic cooperation between small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, as well as Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorny Karabakh, spanning across four conflict divides.
CBDN, which Alert helped to establish 11 years ago, facilitates contacts between entrepreneurs by supporting regional events such as exhibitions and festivals, and by piloting different models of collaboration. For example, the ‘Caucasus Brands’ initiative brought together cheese, tea, honey and wine producers from across the Caucasus to create a common brand, symbolising the potential of regional economic cooperation. A more recent CBDN initiative is Recipes for Peace, which explores the conciliatory power of food and culinary heritage to bring together divided communities on the Turkey-Armenia border. Read more