In occasion of the first global virtual conference on Sustainability in Project Management , organized by Ron Schipper and Gilbert Silvius , early this year, I had the honor to deliver the presentation The Legacy: Project Management for Peace. Nobody discuss the tremendous social, environmental and economic impact of the violence.
To put in simple numbers, the economic impact of violence on the global economy was US$14.3 trillion in 2014, which represents 13.4 per cent of world GDP. This is equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. From the social point of view the number of refugees and internally displaced persons –IDPs- numbers has increased substantially to over 50 million, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), the highest number since the end of World War II. Related costs increased by 267 percent to US$93 billion dollars since 2008 The most important and transcendent data is if global violence were to decrease by ten per cent uniformly, an additional US$1.43 trillion would effectively be added to the world economy each year. This is more than six times the total value of Greece’s bailout and loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and other Eurozone countries combined. (Institute for Economics an Peace, 2015)
In this context of sustainability global challenges, the following words regarding the project managers, continues as valid as ever “As project, program and portfolio managers, we cannot be indifferent, quite the contrary be sensible, receptive and take an active role, that is, be change agents for a better world with inclusive growth, social equity and progress, between other goals” (González, 2013)
On January 1st, 2016, Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals that went into effect replacing the millennium development goals as a new universal agenda with the aim of mitigating climate change, advancing human rights, gender equality, empowerment of all women and girls and the peace and justice to name a few. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environment (ESG governance)
Project management, a discipline synonymous with change, must evolve and adopt sustainable methods to support the needs of the new corporate strategy paradigm and contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals. These goals are intended to inspire action in areas of significant importance for humanity and the planet.
Regarding the Sustainable development goal 16 “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”, companies can make critical contributions to Peace. According to the Business for Peace initiative, in its Peace and Business report, there is a spectrum of engagement for companies that operates in conflict affected contexts.
A Case Study of Partnerships to Address Key Drivers of Conflict can clarify these concepts: The One oil company’s work in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.
The following actions were carried out by the company:
- Identify key drivers of conflict – such as high unemployment and weak governance capacity – which were affecting not only its operations, but also a large number of
- After identifying the key drivers of the conflict, the company first negotiates a Global Memorandum of Understanding with local
- Recognizing, however, that resolving certain long-standing issues were beyond the capacity of the company, it establishes the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), which developed partnerships with Nigerian state and local governments, international donors, NGOs and communities to bring together appropriate technical expertise and state and community buy-in for programmes that addresse those problems at a regional
As a result, the PIND has been able to address key drivers of the conflict in the Niger Delta region and contribute to a reduction in violence.
According to the GPM PRiSM methodology for Sustainable Projects, module Stakeholder Engagement, it is more appropriate to talk of “Stakeholder
Engagement” than Management of Stakeholders. (GPM Global, 2015).
Companies and authorities with different levels of responsibilities, including project program and portfolio managers have a great opportunity to make a tremendous contribution for the peace achievement. A wide range of international frameworks, guidelines and standards exist to aid companies to support responsible business within a number of domains, between them: (United Nations, 2015)
- UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
- Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative – EITI.
- Transparency International and Social Accountability International Business Principles for Countering Bribery.
- International Finance Corporation’s Performance Standards and Guidance Notes.
- UN Global Compact Guidance on responsible business in conflict-affected and high-risk areas.
- OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High Risk Areas.
As final words: “Beat the indifference and conquer the Peace“(Pope Francis, 2016) (Francis, 2016)
 Ron Schipper and Gilbert Silvius, Authors of the Project Management and Sustainability book.
Francis, P. (2016, 01 02). Pope Francis Urges Overcoming ‘Indifference’ to Attain Peace. New York Times .
González, M. (2013). why-become-a-certified-green-project-manager-gpm. PM World Journal .
GPM Global. (2015, 01). Global School of Project Management. Retrieved 01 22, 2016, from http://www.ucipfg.com/Repositorio/GSPM/Cursos/CSR_GSPM_07/w1/001.pptx
Institute for Economics an Peace. (2015). Measuring Peace, its Causes and its Econimic value.
Sydney, New York and Mexico City.
United Nations. (2015). Advancing the Sustainable Development. Retrieved 01 22, 2016, from https://www.unglobalcompact.org/docs/issues_doc/Peace_and_Business/AdvancingSDGsPeac e.pdf
United Nations. (2015, Dic 1). Sustainble developement knowledge Patform. Retrieved from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs
Professor of the CSR and Sustainable Development course in the Master in Project Management Program at the University for International Cooperation.
November 29, 2016