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The State and Peacebuilding Fund (SPF) is the World Bank’s largest global trust fund supporting interventions in contexts of fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV). The Fund has two overarching objectives:

·       Statebuilding. Improve institutional capacity and legitimacy to manage stresses and support prevention and recovery from conflict and fragility.

·       Peacebuilding. Reduce and manage  internal and external stresses that increase vulnerability to conflict and fragility.

Through its ability to respond rapidly to emerging needs and its flexibility in working across all countries and territories— including middle-income countries with pockets of fragility, non-member countries, and countries in arrears— the SPF has enabled an expansion of the World Bank’s capacity to work in FCV environments. The SPF’s demand-driven approach allows the fund to remain flexible and to focus on innovation and catalytic funding.  SPF seed funding to single-country, multi-donor trust funds can finance activities to leverage larger projects and fills a critical financing gap—especially for countries that are not eligible for IDA or IBRD funding.

The SPF’s unique capacity to engage in conflict-sensitive operations is especially important given the current context: by 2030, two-thirds of the global extreme poor will be living in countries affected by FCV.  Due to COVID-19 pandemic, this number could even be higher with an estimated 18 to 30 million more people pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 in fragility and conflict-affected settings  alone. Climate change, demographic changes, and other global trends are driving and intensifying conflicts— which disproportionately affect the  most vulnerable.


Established in 2008, the SPF operates in 61 countries to address FCV challenges, such as sub-national conflict in East Asia; urban crime and violence in Latin America; the Syrian refugee crisis in the Middle East and North Africa; and institutional fragility and post-conflict challenges across sub-Saharan Africa. In 2019, the Fund approved 33 grants and one transfer to a multi-donor trust fund, for over $13.5 million new commitments. As of December 31, 2019, the Fund’s active portfolio comprised 74 grants with over $58 million in commitments. The net value of the SPF is over $359 million.


The SPF targets activities in five focus areas with cross-cutting themes of mainstreaming gender interventions, and increasing the role of information and communications technology to enhance knowledge and operations in FCV situations.  These areas are: 

Prevention and RecoveryTailoring development solutions to FCV causes and consequences, and prioritizing prevention and risk mitigation. 

Preventing entry and relapse into a cycle of conflict holds the potential to save lives, avoid immense losses in human and economic capital, and safeguard development gains. Prevention requires innovative approaches and novel partnerships to meet new threats in an increasingly complex, interconnected world. The SPF is working to mainstream prevention approaches into projects. Priority is placed on identifying interventions that can be built into the design of International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA) country operations. Analytical tools are critical to this focus and include country-based Risk and Resilience Assessments and other surveys and studies of factors driving FCV. 

Crisis ResponseProviding timely and effective response to crises and transitions, through quick and flexible engagement with humanitarian and security partners.

The World Bank’s comparative advantage in this area is development-driven stabilization that complements the work of other actors, and this focus area places strong emphasis on joint programming with the United Nations and other agencies. Building resilience, even in crisis or transition situations, is a priority, and can be supported by rapid assessment of crisis situations through data collection, analysis, and dissemination.

Forced DisplacementImproving socioeconomic conditions for refugees, forcibly displaced persons, and host communities.

This includes operationalizing a global development response to countries and regions experiencing the impact of forced displacement and building data and evidence on effective approches in the development response to forced displacement. Particular attention is given to activities that generate knowledge and provide services and solutions to improve the stability and socioeconomic opportunities of refugees, internally displaced persons, and host communities.

Humanitarian-Development-Peace (HDP) NexusDelivering collective outcomes across humanitarian, development, and peace operations.

Under the HDP focus area, the SPF supports implementation of programs and projects by bridging the gap between HDP actors based on their comparative advantages. This includes integrated responses to countries in protracted crisis and post-crisis situations; conducting joint analysis and assessment of needs; developing joint diagnostic tools and sharing data; and aligning multi-year planning across peace, humanitarian, and development operations.

Financing SolutionsIncreasing investment in FCV contexts through innovative financing instruments.

This area focuses on promoting innovative and promising financial solutions that mobilize resources; effectively channeling financing to address critical challenges; and supporting adequate investment in FCV affected countries. The activities supported under this focus area address the design and implementation of innovative financing instruments for various needs of low- and middle-income countries affected by FCV. The Fund also provides immediate and flexible financing for situations where conventional financing is unavailable. Seed funding provided by the SPF to single-country, multi-donor trust funds fills a critical gap—especially for countries that are not eligible for IDA or IBRD funding.


The SPF is a catalyst for operations in FCV contexts, providing seed funding for activities, tools, and analytical work that inform larger World Bank projects and leverage other sources of financing, including IDA and IBRD.

For example, SPF’s Ebola Response grant ($150,000) to analyze effective approaches for increasing resilience of local health systems informed a $55 million operation, the Guinea Health Service and Capacity Strengthening Project. Similarly, a $2 million SPF grant, for Water for Agropastoral Livelihoods Pilot Project, to identify lessons and best practices on effective local water resource management, was integrated into a $42 million scale-up, the  Somalia Water for Agro-pastoral Productivity and Resilience Project.