State and Peace-Building Fund (SPF)

Created in 2008, the SPF is the World Bank’s largest, global multi-donor trust fund established to finance innovative approaches to state and peace-building in regions affected by fragility, conflict and violence (FCV).

 Responding to a myriad of FCV challenges, the Fund is guided by two objectives:

1. Support measures to improve governance and institutional performance in countries emerging from, or at risk of sliding into, crisis and arrears, and 

2. Support the reconstruction and development of countries prone to, in, or emerging from conflict.

Achievement of the World Bank Group’s goals of ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity requires significant progress on development outcomes in fragile and conflict-affected situations around the world. The SPF is a key tool as part of the World Bank Group’s overall surge in support to respond to FCV challenges. It currently leverages contributions from the World Bank and a range of bilateral development partners to finance its transformative programs. These partners include:

  • Netherlands      
  • Denmark
  • Australia             
  • Norway
  • Sweden              
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany

What We Do

The SPF is designed to explore innovative approaches to peace- and state-building in a range of difficult fragile and conflict-affected environments. It finances strategic and catalytic development interventions and leverages partnerships that over the long-term, promote resilient institutions that are able to manage the internal and external stresses that can increase the risk of conflict and violence.

In many ways, the SPF can be seen as a laboratory, experimenting with relatively small grants to explore cutting edge development approaches, which through follow-on financing, can be brought to scale and leverage new investments for an FCV response. In this respect, the SPF enables improved ways for the Bank to work in fragile and conflict- affected states (FCS) and achieve tangible development results in highly challenging environments.

Building partnerships lies at the heart of the SPF’s mandate. It seeks to foster greater coordination between development, security, and humanitarian actors and works closely with other global funds focused on conflict response, including the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).

These strong partnerships help ensure coherence of international community interventions in FCV settings, minimize burdens on clients and utilize comparative advantages. The SPFs flexible procedures and financing arrangements allow it to engage with a variety of in-country partners and grant recipients including governments, NGOs, universities and think tanks plus regional and international institutions.

Last Updated: Mar 14, 2016

The SPF is staffed by a Secretariat housed in Washington, D.C., and Nairobi and is governed by a cross–World Bank SPF Committee. The Committee is composed of senior representatives and FCV technical specialists from across the Bank and is responsible for all final grant approvals.  In addition, the SPF convenes an annual Steering Group Meeting with donors and partners to set strategic priorities and direction for the Fund. 

All project applications approved by the SPF Committee must contribute to SPF Fund-level results and reflect:

  1. An urgent need linked to conflict and violence prevention or recovery;
  2. A rare opportunity created by a significant transition moment or window for progress on peace and state-building;
  3. A highly innovative or experimental opportunity that advances the knowledge base or World Bank Group experience in an FCV response.

As of October 2015, the SPF has provided 109 grants, individually valued at up to US$ 5 million. These projects are often part of broader Strategic Initiatives — packages of assistance in support of a transformative country, regional or thematic strategy that tackles state or peace-building challenges. Since their introduction in 2012, the number of Strategic Initiatives has risen sharply and they currently make up 20 percent of the SPF portfolio.

The SPF carried out a Mid-Term Review in 2012 to assess the degree to which SPF has achieved its original objectives and is "fit for purpose." It found that the overall performance of the SPF was "moderately satisfactory" and outlined a series of priority areas of reforms to guide the development of the SPF in the coming years.

An additional recommendation of the Review was the creation of a monitoring system to track portfolio performance and draw lessons from SPF interventions. In response, the SPF Pilot Monitoring Dashboard was launched in late 2014. The Dashboard
provides the Secretariat with a user-friendly tool for monitoring portfolio performance and project-level results. More specifically, it:

  • Encourages alignment of the SPF portfolio with the SPF Results Framework
  • Generates lessons and results to report back to SPF stakeholders
  • Ensures that innovations and piloting from SPF project experiences are captured and shared
  • Pilots new ways to measure progress in FCV settings.

Building on the findings on the Review, in October 2014 the World Bank Board of Governors approved a package of reforms for the SPF. The reforms are designed to re-position the fund for maximum impact within the context of the Bank’s new operating model and reinforce commitment to address FCV challenges globally. They seek to capitalize on the SPF’s flexibility, strengths and experience, and are geared to improve support for clients and regional and country teams to scale up work alongside IDA, IBRD and Multi-donor trust funds.

The reform package incorporates the following:

  1. Enhancing the SPF’s flexibility to promote knowledge and learning activities: Allowing for expanded Bank execution for speedier technical assistance, more systematic M&E, improved partnerships and enhanced implementation support for FCV
  2. Improving operational speed and flexibility: Further simplifying grant making procedures to ensure speedier responses tailored to the risks, challenges, and opportunities of FCV contexts.
  3. Aligning governance arrangements with new operating model, and enhancing engagements with partners: Aligning SPF governance arrangements with the Bank’s new operating model for enhanced engagement with SPF donors and partners on FCV country, regional and thematic priorities.
  4. Aligning program management costs with the value and scope of the fund: Instituting a program management cap on received SPF funds in line with SPF’s growing value and scope, and ensuring Secretariat preparation of the annual operating budget.
  5. Extending SPF closing date for five years: Extending the SPF closing date to September 30, 2021.
  6. Advancing management of global FCV trust funds: Improving the strategic management and coordination between FCV Group housed trust funds as well as links to the IFC, MIGA and country-level MDTF’s in FCS. 

Recent Results

Somalia: SPF investment of $30 million since 2009 – at the heart of the Bank’s re-engagement to support New Deal implementation and the foundation for large multi-donor trust fund

Syria: SPF early support of $23 million to Syrian crisis complemented humanitarian response by supporting host communities in Lebanon/Jordan to manage refugee influx

Côte d’Ivoire and Democratic Republic of Congo: SPF grant informed design of first IDA operation on gender-based violence valued at $107 million

Colombia: Support for land reform and restitution of patrimonial assets for displaced persons resulted in the passage of a victims’ law in 2011 and the protection of more than 175,000 displaced people.

Philippines/Mindanao: SPF grant informed design of US$2 billion investment on community-driven development

E4P: Evidence for Peace Initiative improves development outcomes in fragile and conflict states through the use of impact evaluation for evidence-based policymaking.

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Last Updated: Nov 09, 2015

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