The International Development Association (IDA) helps the world’s poorest countries with knowledge and financing to address their development challenges. These challenges sometimes include crises that can undermine social and economic development. The Crisis Response Window (CRW), introduced in 2011, is one tool that IDA uses to support countries through crises. Here are 10 things to know about the CRW:
- The CRW provides funding to help IDA countries respond to exceptionally severe crises. Three types of severe crises are covered: natural disasters, public health emergencies, and economic crises.
- The CRW also provides funding to help IDA countries respond early to slower-onset food insecurity and disease outbreaks. The CRW offers Early Response Financing (ERF) to address slower-onset crises that are at an early stage. ERF can help prevent these events from escalating into major crises. It also helps incentivize resilience building.
- CRW resources have grown in IDA20. The CRW has increased from $2.5 billion in IDA19 to $3.3 billion in IDA20, reflecting the need to support countries amid increased vulnerability to shocks—such as rising food insecurity.
- The CRW can respond flexibly to demand over the course of an IDA cycle. The Bank adopts a pragmatic approach that can adjust the size of CRW resources at key points in an IDA cycle based on observed demand. For example, in the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, IDA increased the amount of CRW resources to up to $1.3 billion.
- The CRW has been used across a wide range of contexts, providing scale and flexibility to respond to crises. Examples include:
- CRW does more than support crisis response. CRW financing also contributes to the resilience agenda by helping countries build back better. Interventions financed by the CRW typically integrate elements to strengthen resilience to future shocks, help prevent future crises, or mitigate their economic and social impact.
- Small States are a key beneficiary of CRW support. Many Small States face significant exposure to natural disasters such as cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods. Over the years, the CRW has allocated $510 million in financing to support crisis responses, including COVID-19, in Small States.
- The CRW is particularly valuable to IDA countries affected by fragility and conflict, which often face overlapping crises. The countries have received 55 percent of CRW allocations to date.
- The CRW promotes collaboration in international response to crisis. The review process for considering a country’s eligibility for CRW support considers whether, and how, IDA financing and comparative advantages can complement the support and roles of other development and humanitarian partners. The Bank also engages other institutions when it considers whether to make CRW financing available. For example, input from the World Health Organization is considered for health crises, and International Monetary Fund information is considered for economic crises.
- Beyond the CRW, IDA also offers other tools to address a range of urgent or acute needs. For instance, the Window for Host Communities and Refugees (WHR) helps eligible host countries create meaningful longer-term development opportunities for refugees and host populations. Similarly, the Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) Envelope provides financing to countries facing acute FCV risks. The WHR window and the FCV Envelope provide essential IDA support in areas not covered by the CRW.
Last Updated: May 26, 2022