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FAQ on Current World Bank Group Engagement in Ethiopia - JULY 2022

The World Bank seeks to end extreme poverty, a goal that cannot be achieved without tackling fragility, conflict, and violence. On the current trajectory, by 2030 up to two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor will live in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Our commitment to improve the lives of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, therefore, does not waver when countries are fragile or embroiled in conflict.

Our strategy is to scale up our engagement in fragile and conflict-affected places, to complement humanitarian action, make lasting progress and reduce conflict risks. Over the last five years, we have tripled our financial support to countries struggling with fragility, conflict and violence. In Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) settings, we focus on addressing drivers of fragility and strengthening factors of resilience—with an emphasis on social inclusion and medium-term support to institutional development; economic opportunities, private sector-led growth, and jobs; and service delivery.

Why has the World Bank remained engaged in Ethiopia despite ongoing conflicts?

As a development institution, the World Bank Group’s role is to help improve the lives and livelihoods of all Ethiopia’s 120 million people, across all regions of the country, including Tigray. Given the current challenges facing the country, this goal cannot be achieved without tackling fragility, conflict, and violence. Remaining engaged during conflicts and crisis situations, to address the drivers and impacts of fragility, conflict, and violence in Ethiopia, and strengthening people’s resilience are therefore central to our mission.

Multiple ongoing conflicts in Ethiopia have resulted in humanitarian crises, degraded infrastructure, and limited access to basic services. These conflicts risk undermining the economic and social development progress the country has achieved in recent years. Like other development partners in Ethiopia, the World Bank provides financing for specific investment projects related to basic human needs, including public health, food security, nutrition, and education, to prevent further development losses.

What are the goals of the Response-Recovery-Resilience for Conflict-Affected Communities in Ethiopia Project?

The World Bank is committed to supporting Ethiopia’s people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and to supporting resilient and inclusive development that equips people to manage shocks.

Aligned with the Bank’s FCV strategy, the Response - Recovery - Resilience for Conflict-Affected Communities in Ethiopia Project is focused on helping conflict-afflicted communities and internally displaced peoples (IDPs) gain access to vital services, such as healthcare, water, sanitation, and education. It will provide survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) with access to health, psychosocial, and legal services.

The project will initially prioritize support to the Afar, Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Oromia, and Tigray regions, which have been highly impacted by recent conflicts and which host large numbers of IDPs. The project will follow a people-centered approach to establish community recovery plans that give voice and agency to IDPs and host communities and ensure rapid and efficient support is adapted to local contexts. Based on community input, recovery plans will include items such as the reconstruction or construction of new climate-resilient education, health, and water and sanitation facilities, youth clubs, and training centers, as well as capacity building activities and social cohesion interventions to facilitate IDP/host community relations.

More information about the Response-Recovery-Resilience project can be found on the project webpage.

How does the World Bank adapt its implementation arrangements in high-risk areas in Ethiopia?

In Ethiopia, projects implemented in regions that include areas of high risk of conflict adopt a differentiated approach to adapt to the needs of different contexts. Under this design, government systems and institutions are in charge of implementing project activities only in areas that are classified as non-high risk of ongoing conflict (NROC) while third parties, like UNOPS, implement project activities in areas classified as high risk of ongoing conflict (HROC). In HROC areas, project monitoring and evaluation is also supplemented by World Bank-procured third-party monitoring. Rapid Woreda Needs, Conflict, and Capacity Assessments, conducted by a third-party, are used to categorize administrative units known as woredas as either non-high risk of ongoing conflict (NROC) or high risk of conflict (HROC).

How do we ensure funding reaches vulnerable communities, including in complex settings?

All World Bank financing is subject to a vigorous system of accountability with stringent guidelines for procurement, financial management, and social and environmental standards to ensure that financing is used for its intended purpose and people and the environment are protected from potential adverse impacts. These standards, laid out in the World Bank Environmental and Social Framework, embed key human rights principles, such as nondiscrimination, meaningful consultation and effective public participation, community health and safety, property rights, accountability, transparency, and good governance in all projects financed by the World Bank. The Framework applies increased oversight and resources to complex projects and promotes increased responsiveness to changes in project circumstances through adaptive risk management and stakeholder engagement. 

All World Bank projects also establish local grievance redress mechanisms to allow stakeholders to provide feedback on project activities and impacts. Furthermore, our Grievance Redress Service (GRS) provides an additional avenue for people and communities to submit complaints directly to the World Bank Management if they believe a Bank-funded project has or is likely to adversely affect them.

How does the World Bank mitigate risks of potential discrimination against specific communities?

Prior to disbursement and commencement of activities in World Bank-financed projects, borrowers— or, in some cases, third-party implementers— identify and assess the environmental and social risks and impacts of the project and design appropriate mitigation measures.  This includes identifying the type and number of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in project areas and addressing potential social tensions between displaced and host communities.

World Bank financed projects are also screened for the potential for gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse/sexual harassment (SEA/SH). In high-risk projects, SEA/SH Prevention and Response Action Plans and dedicated Grievance Redress Mechanisms are established to receive complaints and address project-related SEA/SH while ensuring confidentiality and avoidance of repercussions or retaliation against survivors.

In addition, the World Bank does not tolerate reprisals or retaliation against people who share their views about Bank-financed projects. When complaints, including allegations of reprisal in connection with Bank projects, are brought to our attention, we work with appropriate parties to address them.