Tackling Fragility, Conflict and Violence with Development Solutions

March 25, 2016

© Dominic Chavez/World Bank

In 2015, the World Bank projected that the number of people living in extreme poverty was likely to fall to under 10 percent of the global population, putting within grasp the World Bank’s goals to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. But as the rest of the world makes progress, poverty will increasingly be concentrated in countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence, with almost half of the world’s poor expected to live in these countries by 2030. This is why the World Bank is actively working and accelerating its efforts in this area to find more effective ways to address this challenge with great urgency.


When the World Bank was founded in 1944 near the end of World War II, it was clear that unless there was a massive effort to help rebuild countries impoverished by war, peace would not be sustainable. Today, development policies are a central part of peacebuilding and stability efforts. The World Bank’s understanding of conflict-sensitive development has evolved over the years, marking an important milestone with the 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development, which provided the evidence-base for global action

The challenge is very complex. It’s widespread, affecting countries at all stages of development. There are fewer large-scale conflicts, but other forms of conflict and violence have increased since 2010. We face a forced displacement crisis, as well as extremist activities that threaten development progress. Citizen security is a growing concern in middle-income countries, closely linked to rising inequality. Poverty will increasingly be concentrated in countries affected by fragility, with almost half the world’s poor expected to live in these situations by 2030. This is why we need to accelerate efforts and find more effective ways to address this challenge.


To meet this challenge, the World Bank is accelerating its efforts along five areas:

  1. Redefining fragility and monitoring the global, regional, and country fragility risks;
  2. Developing and helping implement policy and financing options for the forced displacement crisis; 
  3. Developing innovative financing solutions, including with private sector involvement, for situations of fragility, conflict, and violence;
  4. Promoting fragility risk reduction in Bank operations and ensuring operational and financial rapid response to protracted and recurring crises; and
  5. Establishing strong partnerships for sustainable peace and development with humanitarian, security, diplomatic, and development actors.


  • Colombia: From 2002 to 2014, the Colombia Protection Land and Patrimony of Internally Displaced Persons Project responded to 173,756 requests for protection of land assets from internally displaced persons, conferred 1,337 titles to occupants, contributed to the regulation of the Land Restitution Law and decrees for ethnic minorities, and received 72,623 requests for land restitution, particularly to those displaced by the decades of conflict.
  • Philippines: Decades of violence left a legacy of poverty and social tension in the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao in southern Philippines. The Mindanao Trust Fund-Reconstruction and Development Program (MTF-RDP) has been working to promote social cohesion between Muslims, Christians and Indigenous Peoples – building a foundation for peace. Since 2005, the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) has expanded to deliver community development and livelihood programs to over 500,000 people in more than 215 villages in 75 municipalities across Mindanao. The MTF has helped the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) transform into an organization with over 300 people in seven regional offices across conflict-affected areas of Mindanao. In November 2014, the BDA launched the Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP) which will provide a roadmap for the economic development of the Bangsamoro area. It is considered to be the first such plan prepared by a non-state armed group anywhere in the world.
  • Pakistan: The Promoting Girls’ Education in Balochistan Project (PGEB) has brought almost 39,000 children into school, including 33,414 girls across Balochistan province in Pakistan. PGEB has improved access to education and retention of children in schools, especially girls, in the remotest parts of Balochistan. This is one of the eleven projects being financed under the KP, FATA and Balochistan Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) set up in 2010 to support the rehabilitation effort in crisis-affected areas. The Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan was established in August 2010 as one of the key instruments to support the reconstruction, rehabilitation, reforms and other interventions needed to build peace and create the conditions for sustainable development in the aftermath of the 2009 crisis. Through this project, the Government rebuilt 123 girls’ schools that were previously shelter less. It also provided missing facilities including toilets, drinking water, boundary walls, solar panels, electricity, blackboards and furniture to 226 girls’ schools. Additionally, 260 new primary schools have been set up with community participation. The teacher attendance rate in these schools is 90%, while the overall retention rate of children in PGEB-supported schools is 86%.
  • Georgia: The IDP Community Development Project increased opportunities for participation in community development activities and access to basic infrastructure, services, employment, and livelihood opportunities, and also enhanced national capacity to provide support to IDPs. From 2009 to 2012, 180 community meetings were held over the two years of community mobilization in target communities. Out of 13,850 participants, 50 percent were women; out of 330 Micro-Project Management Committee (MPMC) members, 40 percent were women. 47 microprojects in 40 communities in eight regions were implemented, benefiting 5,500 households. The majority focused on basic infrastructure improvement (e.g., gasification, access to water, building rehabilitation, etc.); 25 percent were income-generating projects. 13 trainings on topics related to (i) project management, (ii) international procurement, (iii) participatory rural appraisal; (iv) leadership and team building; (v) English; and (vi) accounting and taxation were conducted for regional and central government officials from the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodations and Refugees. In total, about 400 staff were trained.
  • South Sudan: Since its launch in 2013, the Local Governance and Service Delivery Project (LGSDP) has helped to build or rehabilitate 29 community infrastructure projects, including schools, clinics and construction of boreholes, in 37 communities. The project has played a key role in supporting government efforts to put in place local government systems, support regular fiscal transfers and provide basic services to the most underserved communities. This is helping to advance the country’s development, which has been held back by internal conflict and complex socio-political dynamics.
  • Palestine: In the year 2000, the World Bank began a program designed to protect public health and Palestine’s scarce natural resources by closing random dumpsites in a sanitary manner and developing controlled regional landfills instead, building up Palestine’s institutional capacity to manage sustainable waste programs. The Jenin Solid Waste and Environmental Management Project is now serving the entire northern West Bank, tripling its coverage of the population from 200,000 to 600,000 people, covering Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarem, and Qalqilia governorates, as well as temporarily handling waste matter from Ramallah and Al-Bireh cities in the central West Bank, whose dump sites were ordered closed. In 2009 the Bank decided to extend its program to the southern West Bank. Another sanitary landfill, at Al-Minya south east of Bethlehem governorate, became operational in September 2014. It is now serving 33 municipalities with 840,000 residents. In 2014, together with its financing partners, the Bank extended its solid waste management program to the Gaza Strip. The Gaza Solid Waste Management Project will set-up a new system, including a sanitary landfill designed and built in keeping with international standards, and a modern waste collection plan in the middle and southern part of the Gaza Strip. Once operational, the system will serve about 750,000 people, nearly half Gaza’s population.

Since 2000, the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s fund for the poorest, has provided over $28.5 billion to fragile and conflict-affected situations. Under IDA 17, the World Bank has a commitment to raise the share of IDA financing to fragile and conflict affected situation countries by 50%. 

State and Peace-Building Fund (SPF)

Working in complement to IDA and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the SPF is the World Bank’s largest global multi-donor trust fund (MDTF) established to finance innovative approaches to state and peacebuilding in regions affected by FCV. It currently leverages contributions from the World Bank and a range of bilateral development partners including Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and Germany.

The SPF portfolio, which as of December 30, 2015, was valued at approximately US$271 million, supports countries with little or no access to other sources of Bank financing for FCV related activities. It also pioneers "frontier" development approaches that can be brought to scale, and captures and disseminates global knowledge. Today the Fund is active in 35 countries across six regions worldwide, and also finances regional and global initiatives.

Korea Trust Fund for Economic and Peace-Building Transitions (KTF)

The KTF is at the forefront of the Bank’s efforts to address FCV, promoting global knowledge work and advancing key partnerships. The total value of the KTF is US$24.2 million. This includes donor contributions and investment income. At the end of FY15, the KTF had a portfolio consisting of 32 innovative projects across diverse themes and regions, collectively valued at US$19.6 million.

Global Program on Forced Displacement (GPFD)

GPFD is the WBG’s main source of analysis, technical knowledge, staff capacity and operational advice for WBG regional and country teams working on forced displacement. In collaboration with other multilateral, bilateral and non-governmental partners GPFD also supports the development of national and international policies and programs to address the economic and social impacts of forced displacement. As of June, 2015, GPFD has 40 activities across all the regions.

During the first six years of GPFD’s existence, donor contributions totaled $7,981,775, coming from Denmark ($4,166,414), Norway ($2,270,386), Switzerland ($1,144,975) and UNHCR ($400,000). In addition, GPFD secured $ 1,763,338 in support from bank sources (trust funds and regular budget), bringing the total income of the program to $ 9,745,113.


The World Bank has intensified efforts to bring together international actors to support transformational development solutions in FCV situations. Building on efforts such as joint visits by the UN Secretary-General and the WBG President to the Great Lakes and Sahel regions in 2013 and to the Horn of Africa in 2014, collaboration with the UN has been strengthened both on analytical and operational work. Engagements with g7+  and the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) are also helping to improve the quality of development interventions. The World Bank, together with the United Nations and other partners recently launched an agenda for collective action leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016 and the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, to be held by the UN General Assembly on September 19, 2016.

Trust funds play a complementary role, supporting the implementation of the jobs agenda, efforts to address gender-based violence and the collaboration with development partners, including the UN. In addition, Multi-donor trust funds (MDTFs) at the global level, such as the SPF, have helped meet needs that are difficult to address through traditional lending. The GPFD has supported development responses to situations of crisis, protracted displacement, and return. The KTF addresses the needs of state and local governance and to help build peace in conflict-prone and conflict-affected situations. 

Moving Forward

Fragility needs to be redefined so the World Bank can better support developing countries navigate a volatile environment; take a strengthened development approach to displacement; apply the "fragility lens" more robustly to our country partnership strategies and operations to ensure development approaches are conflict-sensitive; ensure that the fragility agenda is institutionalized across the World Bank Group; and last but not least, deepen partnerships. Partnerships are very important because the challenge is too enormous for any single institution to tackle. Collective action is needed by humanitarian, development, security and diplomatic partners.

Learn More:

Website: Fragility, Conflict and Violence
Blog: Development for Peace
Twitter: @WB_Dev4Peace