Context and Program Objectives
Today, 800 million people live in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence. Poverty rates are 20 percent higher in countries affected by repeated cycles of violence. By 2030, an estimated 46 percent of the world’s poor will live in areas characterized as fragile or conflict-affected. While trends show that poverty is declining across much of the world, countries affected by conflict are falling behind. Development challenges in fragile, conflict, and violence (FCV) settings transcend national boundaries through the displacement of populations, spread of disease, reduced trade, and increased organized crime and terrorism. Further, high levels of fragility and violence exist in countries otherwise considered relatively stable.
The international community is committed to assisting communities emerge from conflict, sustain peace, and resume growth. The World Bank, bilateral, and other multi-lateral donors invest billions of dollars a year to help achieve peace and build states. The evidence base for designing such programs is, however, sparse, especially with regards to rigorous evaluations aiming to identify what works, and how, to reduce fragility, conflict, and violence. This knowledge vacuum impedes our ability to design effective interventions to promote poverty reduction and welfare improvement in FCV settings.
Rigorous evaluation of policies targeting FCV issues is therefore of paramount importance, all the more so as the volume of resources from the World Bank and other development partners towards such settings increases (under IDA18, for example, the World Bank is set to significantly increase financing for FCV-related issues). Not only is developing this evidence a priority, but experience to date shows that, even with the amplified challenges of working in FCV environments, rigorous evaluation in such settings is possible. IEs have been conducted in diverse FCV countries such as Afghanistan, DRC, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, northern Nigeria, and Liberia.
FCV Impact-Evaluation Program
In March 2014, DIME and partners inside and outside of the Bank launched the Evidence for Peace (E4P) program. Its overall goal is to assess evidence gaps in FCV responses and generate improved knowledge about how to best support FCV clients to deliver the results so critically needed for citizens to gain confidence in the path out of conflict. E4P was the first IE program to benefit from a launch workshop under i2i, followed by the first open call for proposals for impact evaluations addressing the program’s four initial themes: jobs for resilience, public-sector governance, urban crime and violence, and gender-based violence.
Today, the program includes 36 IEs across 21 countries. The portfolio represents around $30 million of research across projects of a total value of $2.1 billion. Further, a series of white papers synthesizing the state of the evidence in each of the four target themes and proposing priority IE research topics will be completed and disseminated in 2017.
An important development during the last program year has been the redefinition of the E4P focus areas around broader development issues encompassing and building on the original four program themes. Four key research areas have been defined: (i) basic service delivery in weak states; (ii) job opportunities for at-risk youth; (iii) breaking poverty traps and vulnerability; and (iv) the political economy of post-conflict reconstruction. This redefinition was conceived with a view to strengthen linkages with other i2i areas and with World Bank Global Practices, beyond the FCV group. Work under each key research area is summarized below.