Supporting Countries During Multiple Global Crises

Today, violent conflicts and forced displacement are rising around world. The war in Ukraine has quickly caused Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, and it has severe global repercussions for food security, energy markets, and commodity prices. These, in turn, are compounding the impacts of fragility and conflicts in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Sahel, Yemen, and other places around the world. And this comes at a time when countries are still dealing with the health, economic, and social setbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the long-term risks posed by climate change.

The pandemic caused global poverty to rise for the first time in over 20 years. In many countries, gains in education, health, nutrition, and gender equality have reversed, leaving the poor and disadvantaged further behind. Many of the poorest countries face high inflation, too few jobs, food insecurity, and the high cost of adapting to a changing climate. And many of them cannot access the resources they need to overcome crises and move toward recovery: about 60 percent of low-income countries are in debt distress or at high risk of it. To help countries navigate these crises, the World Bank is providing data and analysis, policy advice, technical assistance, and flexible financing to address immediate needs and to support green, resilient, and inclusive recovery and development.

In April 2022, we prepared the World Bank Group Response to Global Impacts of the War in Ukraine, a roadmap that looks at the war’s regional and global impacts and outlines the broad parameters of our analytical work and financial support to help countries cope. As of June 2022, we mobilized about $6.8 billion in support for Ukraine to help blunt the war’s widespread human and economic impacts. This includes rapid financing to help essential government services continue operating and to finance health care, pensions, and government wages. It includes our own financing supplemented by grants, guarantees, and parallel financing from our development partners.

But the impacts of the war go far beyond Ukraine. Global patterns of trade, production, and consumption have shifted, contributing to record-high food prices. Drawing on experience in responding to the 2008 food price crisis, we are supporting a comprehensive global response on food security, with up to $30 billion in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation. We remain committed to helping countries access the food they need in times of crisis.

The war in Ukraine has also had a rapid impact on energy prices. Countries need to increase their energy supply and secure reliable access, while also reducing their dependence on fossil fuels. Over the past five years, we committed $8.6 billion in clean energy and renewable energy investments and provided or improved electricity connections for about 80 million people. We are also helping countries transition to more diverse and cleaner sources of energy to meet rising demand, support economic growth, and create jobs. With the impacts of COVID-19 and now war on energy prices and supply, these challenges have become all the more urgent.

By 2030, up to two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor will live in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV). Recent conflicts and rising fragility underscore how quickly the situation can worsen, displacing millions of people and threatening development gains. In fiscal 2022, the Bank approved $16.3 billion in IDA19 commitments for countries affected by FCV; the IDA20 replenishment, approved in December 2021, allocates over $30 billion for these countries. We are also strengthening our partnerships with humanitarian organizations to help us engage effectively and quickly in challenging situations.

These crises compound and intersect with the long-term risks posed by a changing climate. By 2030, climate change could push up to 132 million more people into extreme poverty. And by 2050, it could also displace more than 216 million people within developing countries. We continue to step up our support: in fiscal 2022, we provided $26 billion in climate financing to developing countries. At $12.8 billion, the Bank’s adaptation financing reached an all-time high dollar amount. Under our Climate Change Action Plan for 2021–25, we are introducing new Country Climate and Development Reports to integrate our climate and development work, aligning all of our financing flows with the Paris Agreement, stepping up our climate finance to an annual average of 35 percent, and prioritizing efforts in high-impact sectors that account for 90 percent of global emissions.

We are focused on helping countries overcome these multiple overlapping crises. Between April 2020 and March 2022, we provided the largest crisis response in our history, committing over $200 billion to fight the far-reaching impacts of the pandemic, including more than $73 billion of IDA resources for the poorest countries. Through the most recent IDA replenishment, IDA20, we have also mobilized $93 billion to address the growing needs of the poorest countries through 2025.

And from April 2022 through June 2023, the Bank Group will provide up to $170 billion in surge financing in response to the crises hitting low- and middle-income countries. We remain committed to helping countries achieve green, resilient, and inclusive recovery and development, so that they can get back to sustainable progress in reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity.