WBG trust funds and financial intermediary funds (FIFs) are important sources of development financing, contributing to the twin goals, responding to changing global priorities, and remaining essential to delivering on a stronger and better WBG. Trust funds form a significant part of the resource envelope of the WBG and provide predictable multiyear funding— with $31.6 billion funds held in trust (FHIT) as of end-FY17.10 They support flexible and customizable development solutions that serve both recipients and donors, complement the WBG’s operations, pilot innovations, allow the scaling up of activities, forge new partnerships, and enable the WBG to provide assistance when its own ability to lend is limited, particularly in fragile contexts or in response to natural disasters and other emergencies.
Trust funds also play a pivotal role in strengthening institutional and knowledge capabilities in previously under-addressed areas like gender, climate change, and fragility, etc., and help expand the scope and scale of annual flagship studies. Such studies provide in-depth analysis and policy recommendations on key development aspects and are widely used by many international organizations, national governments, academics, civil society groups, and other global thought leaders to support their decision making processes.
As part of the 2016 Forward Look, the WBG has embarked on an ambitious trust fund reform agenda to ensure that trust funds continue to remain an integral part of WBG resources, reflect the highest priorities for the institution, and place a greater focus on results, with the objective of increasing efficiencies and the effectiveness of trust funded activities for WBG clients. The support of the WBG’s partners and clients remains essential to help shape this new vision and ensure the continued suitability of trust funds against evolving development priorities.