With almost half of the world’s poor expected to live in countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence (FCV) by 2030, addressing this challenge remains a concern for achievement of the new Sustainable Development Goals, and a priority for the World Bank Group (WBG) to end poverty and promote shared prosperity.

The challenge is widespread, and not confined to low-income countries. The last few years have seen a spike in conflicts with an increase in casualties, and almost 60 million people are displaced globally – the highest level since the end of World War II. Violent extremism is a growing concern, and urban violence is on the rise, connected to inequality. Homicide rates are four times higher in countries with a Gini index greater than 0.45 than in more equal societies.

The WBG provides financing, analysis and knowledge, and builds global partnership to support countries addressing the challenge of FCV, by focusing on conflict and violence prevention and resilience; humanitarian and development continuum and forced displacement; security and justice; political transitions and local governance; bottlenecks to private investments and job creation. 

In particular, the global displacement crisis has become a critical part of the WBG’s fragility agenda. The length of displacement can amount to years, making this a development challenge that affects poverty levels, employment, and service delivery – not just a humanitarian emergency. Building on efforts so far to help address the root causes of refugee flows, including support to help the displaced rebuild their lives and improve infrastructure in host communities, access jobs, or return home, the WBG is coordinating closely with humanitarian partners to provide effective financing instruments to alleviate pressure on host countries; to develop operations that can address the development aspects of forced displacement; and to provide strong analytics to inform policy discussions. Analytical work is also being conducted on the economic impact of forced displacement, to inform discussions at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.



Last Updated: Sep 24, 2015

The Bank’s approach to fragile states has evolved over the years, codifying knowledge through the 2011 World Development Report, and launching a wide set of reforms to better support development outcomes. This includes improving operational flexibility; informing strategies and operations; increasing financial and human resources; and building partnerships for better results.

Since 2000, the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s fund for the poorest, has provided over $28.5 billion to fragile and conflict-affected situations. Under IDA 17, the World Bank has a commitment to raise the share of IDA financing to fragile and conflict affected situation countries by 50%. 

Trust funds play a complementary role, supporting the implementation of the jobs agenda, efforts to address gender-based violence and the collaboration with development partners, including the UN. In addition, Multi-donor trust funds (MDTFs) at the global level, such as the State- and Peace-Building Fund, have helped meet needs that are difficult to address through traditional lending. The Global Program on Forced Displacement has supported development responses to situations of crisis, protracted displacement, and return. The Korea Trust Fund for Economic and Peace-building Transitions addresses the needs of state and local governance and to help build peace in conflict-prone and conflict-affected situations. 

The Bank’s Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group, established in July 2014, works to catalyze and advocate for the implementation and monitoring of the FCV agenda, strengthening support in countries affected by FCV by improving collaboration and knowledge flow across the institution.

This includes broadening the focus to respond to violence and sub- and supra-national conflict in middle-income countries and low-income countries, integrating International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) in service delivery to increase impact on infrastructure, investment climate and job creation, and strengthening the framework for FCV sensitive country analysis and strategies.

To innovate and develop knowledge, the Bank convened the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Forum in February 2015  under the theme “re-defining fragility” bringing together over 1,000 global practitioners to share insights and experience through over 50 sessions on topics ranging from Ebola to extractives natural resources, aiming to strengthen the practice of delivering development results in fragile and conflict-affected situations. The next Forum is planned for March 2016.

Analytical work on FCV issues includes the recently published study “The Challenge of Stability and Security in West Africa”, which examines the diverse drivers of fragility – from issues related to land ownership, a growing youth population with expectations for inclusion, to accelerated development of the extractives industry – and emphasizes the role of development policy in fostering stability. On forced displacement, the Bank has conducted economic and social impact assessment of the Syria refugee influx and internally displaced in the Kurdistan Region; analytical work focused on displacement in regional initiatives in the Great Lakes, the Horn, and the Sahel; and poverty analysis of Syrian refugees.

The WBG has also intensified efforts to bring together international actors to support transformational development solutions in FCV situations. Building on efforts such as joint visits by the UN Secretary-General and the WBG President to the Great Lakes and Sahel regions in 2013 and to the Horn of Africa in 2014, collaboration with the UN has been strengthened both on analytical and operational work. Engagements with g7+  and the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) are also helping to improve the quality of development interventions. 

Last Updated: Sep 24, 2015

Overall, highlights of the Bank’s support in countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence include: 

In Colombia, the World Bank supported the government’s efforts in protection, formalization and restitution of land rights, particularly to those displaced by the decades of conflict. From 2002 to 2014, Protection Land and Patrimony of Internally Displaced Persons Project responded to 173,756 requests for protection of land assets from internally displaced persons, conferred 1,337 titles to occupants, contributed to the regulation of the Land Restitution Law and decrees for ethnic minorities, and received 72,623 requests for land restitution.

In the West Bank, the “Masar Ibrahim/Abraham Path: Economic Development across Fragile Communities” project helped create jobs and opportunities to generate income for local people living along the famous Abraham Path. Specifically, the project provided tour guide certifications and hospitality training and supported creation of hikers’ resources such as maps, accommodation and transportation information and promotional materials to educate travelers about the Abraham Path. Around 300 local people have been trained in different tourism activities and more than 800 are benefiting. Besides, the project has created a partnership between local councils and associations, youth groups, women’s groups and NGOs – particularly important in conflict affected countries where the social fabric of communities is often torn.

In Africa, the World Bank helps countries adopt community-driven development (CDD) approaches to tackle fragility, from conflict and coups to locust attacks, drought and displacement. Following a coup in 2009, Madagascar used CDD for an emergency rice production project in response to drought, flooding, and a locust invasion that struck at the same time. Local community leaders were trained in skills to manage the project, from pesticide use to accounting, and the community took responsibility for irrigation system maintenance by pooling their own money. After civil war and prolonged insecurity, Cote d’Ivoire used CDD to establish services in war-torn communities where there was little government presence or trust. Communities divided by conflict were brought together to building infrastructure. 

In Haiti, a Nutritional Security and Safety Nets project provided support to families in the areas of nutritional security, social protection, and disability services. The project’s assessments led to the development of a national nutrition policy and the conceptualization of a national framework to address malnutrition and food insecurity. They also contributed to (i) the development of a national targeting tool, which will allow the Government to identify the poorest and most vulnerable Haitians, and (ii) the design and implementation of the Kore Fanmi service delivery model. Kore Fanmi has, so far, reached 65,000 citizens (13,000 families) in three rural communes in the Center department and has provided vaccinations, nutrition services, oral rehydration salts, long-lasting insecticide-treated malaria bed nets, and life-saving commodities (such as soap, water treatment tablets, micronutrients, and food supplements) to poor and vulnerable families.

In Kosovo, under the World-Bank supported Kosovo’s Real Estate Cadastre and Registration Project, cadaster offices around Kosovo are being renovated and equipped to provide more efficient services to the public. Some of the updated tools include a new positioning system that receives satellite signals and provides data for GPS equipment able to immediately verify registered land measurements remotely. As part of the project, staff in the cadaster offices have received training in better management, planning, legal, technical, and administrative skills.

In Timor-Leste, the World Bank is helping the government make cash transfers more efficient, as the country is building a social safety net to protect the most vulnerable people after emerging from the ashes of destruction to progress as a fully-fledged nation-state. Under the Social Protection Administration Project, the Ministry of Social Solidarity developed an information system to improve the implementation of the social programs by integrating the databases of three existing cash transfer programs. The new system allows cross-checks and updates, monitoring transactions, facilitating payments, allowing grievance management and generating reports on program implementation.

In Yemen, a Labor Intensive Public Works project has provided temporary employment for a total of about 2.16 million people living in 20 districts across Yemen’s 21 governorates. The project has also provided over 800,000 people better access to primary health services; helped more than 250,000 students enroll in school; given over 245,000 people more access to water; provided over 325,000 people access to water harvesting; given more than 1 million people access to paved roads and streets; helped nearly 5,000 people, mostly women, receive vocational training.

In Afghanistan, health projects funded by the World Bank and development partners benefited largely women and children, who make up the most vulnerable part of the Afghan society and had the least access to care and the greatest health needs. As a result, prenatal care coverage is now 39%, up from 6% in 2003, and institutional deliveries are now at 43%, up from 7% in 2004. The maternal mortality rate dropped from 1,600 per 100,000 births in 2000 to 327 in 2010. Contraceptive use has increased from 5.1% for rural areas in 2003 to 20% in 2011. The fertility rate has dropped by almost 20% from 6.3 in 2000 to 5.1 in 2010. Under-5 mortality has dropped from 257 per 1,000 live births in 2002 to 97 per 1,000 in 2012. Full immunization coverage in rural areas tripled from 11% in 2003 to 30% in 2010/11.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), working with the United Nations and the government, the World Bank helped finance a regional peace process, demobilize the Congolese armed forces, reintegrate ex-combatants into society, and strengthen domestic institutions. Under the  National Program for Demobilization and Reintegration, over 100,000 weapons were collected, 31,738 children were demobilized and reunited with parents, and over 100,000 ex-combatants were demobilized, most of whom received reintegration assistance.

Last Updated: Sep 24, 2015

4,000 jobs will be created
to build 710 km of highway in Yemen. This road will contribute to future stability and growth by targeting the root causes of instability such as lack of access to economic opportunities.
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