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Exhausted by insurrection, Colombia will “give peace a chance”. Business can help

“What we sign today is a declaration from the Colombian people before the world that we are tired of war… that we don’t accept violence as a means of defending ideas.”

That is Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ historic — and inspiring — pledge upon signing the peace agreement in Cartegena this week.

Colombians will vote on Sunday to ratify the accord.

Here’s an excerpt from The New York Times report on this epic event:

“It was a moment perhaps reminiscent of the Good Friday Agreement that ended the conflict in Northern Ireland or the Oslo Accords that promised peace in the Middle East. And it was an image that generations of Colombians had yearned to see on their soil: A sitting president shaking the hands of the very rebel leader whom government forces had once hunted in the mountains, as the two sides pledged a future of peaceful politics.

“ ‘Let no one doubt that we will now pursue politics without weapons’, said Rodrigo Londoño, the top commander of the FARC, offering an apology to the war’s victims “.

The role of business — Business For Peace

It may surprise critics of multinational business to learn of its current and potential role in Colombia peace process:

The United Nations Global Compact, through one of its major initiatives, Business For Peace, has been working for harmony in Colombia for almost three years  (caveat: details in Spanish). Among its initiatives, B4P — working through one of the many UNGC local networks around the world — seeks to provide job opportunities  for former combatants.

Visit the Global Compact’s Business For Peace program for more information.