On October 4, 2017, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Bank Group (WBG) organized the side event A new partnership at work UNHCR & The World Bank Group on the sideline of the 68th session of UNHCR’s Executive Committee. Mr. Xavier Devictor, Adviser, Fragility, Conflict and Violence, WBG, and Ewen Macleod, Special Adviser to the High Commissioner, UNHCR, presented the partnership between the two organizations and the progress on the implementation of the $2 billion International Development Association 18 (IDA18) Refugee Sub-Window.
Mr. Devictor introduced the WBG’s development approach to the refugee crisis, which focuses on the medium-term, socio-economic dimensions of the crisis and resilience to help both the forcibly displaced and their host communities. He noted that development actors can bring different kind of financial resources, analytical and advisory services, and access to economic policymakers. The WBG efforts will complement and not substitute humanitarian efforts, especially the ones from UNHCR.
Mr. Devictor’s presentation focused on the IDA18 Refugee Sub-Window, which aims to provide resources on attractive terms (i.e. additional to country envelopes, 50 percent grants) to countries hosting refugees for medium- to long-term investments that will benefit both refugees and host communities. Mr. Devictor informed that the first WBG Board consultation was held on September 29, 2017 for eight countries (Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Niger, Pakistan, Uganda) and that work is in progress for other countries (Burkina Faso, Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Mauritania, Rwanda and Tanzania).
Mr. Macleod underlined the challenge of dealing with the immediate humanitarian needs of refugees but also the medium and long-term development needs of refugees, underscoring the importance of different and additional sources of financing that focus on refugees’ development needs. He pointed to three core areas of attention: (i) investing in analytics and data which is critical for the accuracy of program design; (ii) engaging with local authorities and populations; and (iii) focusing on preparedness. In his closing remarks, Macleod highlighted that the UNHCR-WBG partnership welcomes other bilateral and multilateral development actors who wish to contribute.