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FEATURE STORY September 6, 2019

Working At the Nexus of Peace and Development: The Korea office FCV team

Fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) is a critical development challenge that is at the forefront of the World Bank Group’s agenda. Through the World Bank Group (WBG), Korea has been supporting countries affected by fragility and conflict over the last 10 years. The Korea Trust Fund for Economic and Peace-Building Transitions (K-FCV), has enabled WBG teams to undertake innovative, timely, and conflict-sensitive development interventions.

As of June 2019, K-FCV has approved 57 grants in 46 countries, across all World Bank Group regions. The aim is to strengthen the WBG’s ability to respond with speed and flexibility to the demands from FCV clients and partners. K-FCV also provides funding to the global consultation process supporting the development of the WBG’s first strategy for FCV. This effort is aligned with the Korean Official Development Aid (ODA) Strategy to Support Fragile Countries.

The newly established FCV team in the WBG’s Korea office in Songdo seeks to scale up Korea’s support to the WBG’s FCV engagements globally. The two seasoned FCV professionals in the team - Da Woon Chung, Senior Program Officer and Suh Yoon Kang, Operations Officer - work to integrate multi-sectoral collaboration in risk monitoring, strategies and analysis, while supporting country teams and WBG units operating in FCV situations.

In the past seven months, the FCV team has made steady strides towards expanding the WBG’s engagement with Korean development partners and stakeholders encompassing humanitarian, security, peacebuilding and development fields.

In May 2019, the team, together with a group led by Sarah Michael, Practice Manager of the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Group, conducted multi-stakeholder consultations in Korea on the WBG’s first strategy for FCV. They met with representatives of the Korean government, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector to share the WBG’s priorities and challenges in FCV situations and to hear their suggestions and recommendations. The results of the discussions will inform the development of the strategy, which seeks to address the drivers of FCV and their impact on vulnerable populations, with the ultimate goal of contributing to peace and prosperity.

“There is a strong interest among Korean development stakeholders to work with the World Bank Group as they expand their activities in FCV-affected countries. There is a demand for more robust data on FCV contexts to better understand how to reduce FCV risks through development interventions,” says Da Woon Chung, who brings more than ten years of FCV experience to the team. Before joining the Korea office, Chung worked at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector arm, in its Africa Team to increase IFC’s footprint in conflict-affected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. 


Da Woon Chung (right) and Suh Yoon Kang (left) are looking forward to contributing to the WBG priorities to advance the FCV agenda.

As the WBG Korea office looks to leverage Korea’s globally leading innovations and technology to benefit developing countries, the Korea FCV team will help increase Korean stakeholders’ awareness of the World Bank’s activities in FCV countries where Korea’s ICT expertise could be leveraged.

As a first step, the team organized a technical workshop featuring the Geo-Enabling initiative for Monitoring and Supervision (GEMS) in May 2019 which attracted more than 40 participants from Korea Export Import Bank (KEXIM), Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), universities, and civil society. GEMS, launched with support of the K-FCV, is a global program that builds local capacity in the use of field-ready open source technology for digital data collection and analysis. GEMS is now in use in over 20 countries, where 1,300 client project staff and partners having been trained, representing more than 300 World Bank-funded projects.

“The use of ICT-based innovative solutions can strengthen the World Bank’s operations in FCV contexts by increasing monitoring, evaluation and supervision. Korea has huge potential to offer technology-based innovative solutions to development challenges in FCV situations where governments have weak capacity and limited resources,” says Suh Yoon Kang, who brings more than seven years of experience to the team, including three years in the FCV Group in Washington DC. 

The team will continue to contribute to the priorities of the FCV Group in the year ahead, such as developing FCV approaches in middle income countries, risk and resilience assessments, and operationalization of crisis risk management initiatives such as the Famine Action Mechanism (FAM).  The upcoming celebration of the 10th anniversary of the WBG partnership with Korea on FCV issues through K-FCV, will also provide an exciting platform to further the exchanges of knowledge and lessons of addressing FCV issues in the region.