Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises (EESE) in fragile contexts

In the wake of conflict or disaster, decent work is often considered as a secondary priority, when it can be the key to resolving many of the drivers of conflict and can be instrumental to restoring peace and resilience. Employment and self-employment enable women and men affected by conflict and disaster to establish sustainable livelihoods; support to the private sector is thus essential to facilitate inclusive recovery. Building on the work carried out by the Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises (EESE) team and the Coordination and Support Unit for Peace and Resilience (CSPR), this publication sets out a series of guidelines for conducting EESE in fragile, conflict-affected, and disaster-prone contexts, considering both the conditions for improving the enabling environment and the process to conduct assessment.

In countries affected by conflicts and disasters, enterprises of all types and of all sizes are often heavily impacted, shaking even more as well vulnerable enterprises such as the ones in the informal economy or women-led enterprises. Conflicts and disasters might have destroyed the local infrastructure, deterred foreign investors and buyers, prevented youth from an education and skills development, and might have put local enterprises in situations that makes it impossible for them to fulfill their orders or get new ones, with catastrophic consequences on the incomes of the entrepreneurs and their employees.
For this reason, supporting the creation of an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises in fragile contexts is key to rebuild the foundations of a functioning market infrastructure and institutions, ensuring that the post-conflict enabling environment allows the development of enterprises. In light of Recommendation No. 205 and the UN reform, this Guidance note incorporates peace-responsiveness and resilience-building elements into the EESE methodology and strives into the specific challenges posed by fragility, conflict, and disaster. For this reason, we consider this Guidance note a “living” document and we welcome, and look forward to context-specific feedback and lessons learned that will enrich the methodology and ensure it continues to be relevant for all ILO officials, constituents and partners involved in sustaining peace and promoting an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises.