“Clean water is now close to our homes. This has allowed many children, especially girls, to go back to school and continue their education.”
Mohammed Jubran, former member of the local council in Wesab al-Aali, Yemen
By 2030, an estimated 59 percent of the world’s extreme poor will live in countries impacted by FCV. COVID-19 pushed about 20 million more people living in FCV settings into extreme poverty and has heightened existing FCV risks. Severe food insecurity is twice as prevalent in FCV-affected countries. And since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has seen a series of massive setbacks to stability in regions across the world. Conflicts and fragility are also leading to increased levels of forced displacement. As of mid-2022, more than 100 million people were estimated to be forcibly displaced globally.
Rising inequality and exclusion are fueling grievances and perceptions of injustice, while factors like climate change, migration, illicit financial flows, violent extremism, and poor governance also increase fragility and conflict vulnerability in many countries. Among the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change, 13 are FCS, and 9 of these are also food insecure. Progress towards the institutional goal of ending extreme poverty and the shared global commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to the international community’s broader efforts to promote peace and prosperity requires a strong focus on tackling FCV.
Since its launch in 2020, the FCV Strategy Hs been widely put into action throughout the World Bank Group (WBG), accomplishing significant progress during its first two years of implementation at several levels. It has been operationalized through country and regional programs that are grounded in strong analytics, building on the country-based model. For example, the Risk and Resilience Assessment is now systematically used to identify FCV drivers and sources of resilience to inform country diagnostics and areas of country engagement. Strong partnerships with the UN and civil society organizations harness our comparative advantages and help us to provide support to vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach places. One specific area in which the FCV Strategy has helped reinforce the WBG’s response and financing is forced displacement. At the end of 2022, 17 countries eligible for financing from the International Development Association (IDA, the Bank's fund for the poorest countries) have accessed $3.1 billion from Refugee Sub-window/Window for Host Communities and Refugees. In parallel, the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF) has provided concessional financing to help IBRD host countries address refugee crises.
- Mozambique Northern Crisis Recovery project: Since October 2017, the Province of Cabo Delgado in Northern Mozambique has experienced an armed insurgency that has taken a heavy toll on lives and livelihoods, leaving an estimated 1.3 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. As of October 2021, nearly 800,000 people have been displaced because of the crisis. The Northern Crisis Recovery Project is improving since 2021 acess to basic service and economic opportunities for internally displaced persons and host communities in targeted areas of Northern Mozambique. The project is designed as a bridge between an emergency response and longer-term social and economic development. As of March 2023, 64,000 beneficiaries have received ID cards and birth certificates, and agriculture kits have been delivered to 68,962 beneficiaries (60 percent female-headed households, including IDPs and host communities). 1,697 IDPs and members of host communities have completed their vocational training; 80 percent of the trainees are women. Health, Education and Water/Sanitation infrastructure started in selected districts in the south of Cabo Delgado, while temporal offices have been deployed in the north, allowing several services to resume activities while the final designs and construction phase is rolled out.
- Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend project (SWEDD) is helping empower adolescent girls, and women, and increase their access to quality education and reproductive, child and maternal health services in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. Since 2015, over 891,135 girls have benefited from interventions to keep girls in school (the retention rate of girls in secondary schools has reached 93percent); improve life skills and knowledge of sexual and reproductive health; and expand young women’s economic opportunity and financial inclusion. More than 9,526 midwives have been trained on a regionally harmonized curriculum that promotes adolescent-friendly services and community-based distribution of family planning products. The number of new users of modern contraception has increased to 619,870. And close to 15,155 religious leaders engaged by SWEDD actively promote girls and women’s empowerment.
- Horn of Africa Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (DRDIP) is a $630 million regional operation in the Horn of Africa covering Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia. The project seeks to mitigate the social, economic and environmental impacts of protracted refugee presence while also maximizing the opportunities offers. Between 2017 and mid-2023, 5.5 million people, of whom 53 percent are women, have benefited from improved access to basic services such as education, health, water and sanitation. Livelihood activities have supported over 285,000 people with business grants and training on entrepreneurship, with 150,000 beneficiaries reporting an increase in income. 1,751 infrastructure subprojects targeting water, health and education facilities, and roads and markets have been completed, and another 595 are currently under construction. 397,000 people have been provided access to renewable energy. An additional $3.4 million in funding was provided for the project in Kenya in December 2022 to cover cost increases for schools, health facilities, and water systems subprojects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A $180 million second phase in Ethiopia commenced in October 2022 and will run until 2027.
- Yemen Emergency Human Capital Project, approved in June 2021, provides essential health, nutrition, water, and sanitation services to Yemen's population in response to deteriorating health and nutrition conditions due to over eight years of conflict. As of February 2023, 450,000 people were provided with access to improved water and sanitation services in rural and urban areas. The project supports 72 hospitals and 2,198 primary health facilities, reaching 7.21 million people, of which 3.8 million are women. Over 300,000 women are receiving antenatal care during a visit to a health provider and over 1 million children have been immunized. Twelve percent of all health beneficiaries are internally displaced persons (IDPs). The project is being implemented by UNICEF, UNOPS, and WHO.
- Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Between 2010 and 2021, the Agriculture Rehabilitation and Recovery project in DRC supported farmers with improved agricultural practices and encouraged job creation, with particular attention given to youth and women, through civil works like rehabilitating and maintaining rural roads, directly benefiting over 160,000 people, 57 percent of whom are women. Road rehabilitation provided short-term employment for 7,422 people and improved access to 76 health centers and 205 schools, injecting $2.4 million into the local economy. Job creation has promoted economic stability and economic recovery leading to a reduced risk of youth joining conflict. Through the project, 360 hectares were reforested with increased tree covers; 90 percent of farmers were reached with agricultural assets or services; 5,605 tons of improved certified seed were produced annually; and 140,580 farmers adopted improved agricultural technologies. Storage silos for seeds and crops have also helped to reduce post-harvest loss by 50 percent and supported improved food security and nutrition outcomes. With a population of about 2 million, about 1,850 villages benefited from the rural roads’ rehabilitation, allowing farmers to easily transport their agricultural produce to markets. Increased agricultural productivity and production and access is helping the country address fragility.
Bank Group Contribution
The Bank Group plays a critical role supporting countries during conflicts and crises. World Bank financing to the poorest, fragile and conflict-affected countries has quadrupled over the last decade and the share of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) portfolio in FCS countries doubled from 2016 to 2021. This support underscores the importance of addressing risks and grievances proactively, supporting refugees and host communities, and mobilizing private investment. In addition to IDA and IBRD financing, the WBG supports both low- and middle-income countries affected by FCV through catalytic trust funds.
The Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF), hosted by the World Bank, uses donor contributions from supporting countries to reduce borrowing costs for development projects that benefit refugees and host communities in middle-income countries (MICs). Development projects under the Facility are supported by five partner multilateral development banks: the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank. As of mid-2023, the GCFF has provided support amounting to $860.43 million in grants which have enabled the provision of over $6.8 billion in loans on concessional terms for development projects which include focus on improving the lives of refugees and host communities in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jordan, Lebanon, and Moldova.
The State and Peace-Building Fund (SPF), the World Bank’s largest Trust Fund for FCV, provides catalytic financing to help prevent conflict, support rapid crisis response, and build long-term resilience in FCV situations. As of December 31, 2022, SPF provided 286 grants and 11 transfers to single-country multi-donor trust funds in 66 countries, with more than $327 million committed, since inception. The portfolio spanned all seven World Bank geographic regions as well as global activities. In addition to the World Bank (IBRD), nine donors (Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom) provided groundbreaking support.
The Korea Trust Fund for Economic and Peace-Building Transitions (KTF) supports WBG peacebuilding initiatives. Since its establishment in 2009, it has contributed $38.5 million in support of 75 projects across all regions.
Over the 2019-2021 fiscal years the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested $7.2 billion in countries classified as fragile and conflict-affected and very low income – $2.8 billion from its own account and $4.4 billion mobilized from other investors. As of mid-2022, 12 percent of MIGA’s gross guarantee portfolio, or $2.9 billion, was in FCV countries.
The WBG partners with humanitarian, development, peacebuilding, security, and private sector actors to maximize impact in FCV settings, building on the respective mandate and comparative advantages of each organization.
The UN and the WBG collaborate in FCV settings at both strategic and operational levels, in more than 40 crisis-affected situations. The WBG complements the essential short-term relief provided by humanitarian actors with longer-term development support, given the highly protracted nature of fragile situations. Since FY16, the volume of our operational partnership with UN Agencies has reached close to $10 billion of which $7 billion has been implemented by UN partners in FCV countries.
Partnerships with security actors—for instance, with UN peacekeeping missions in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mali—help the WBG access and provide development support in insecure areas. Through the G-5 and the Sahel Alliance, the WBG is leveraging security partnerships to deliver $6.7 billion in development support to insecure areas across the Sahel region.
The WBG also promotes joint analysis to inform financing needs and programmatic strategies in post-conflict settings through Recovery and Peace-Building Assessments (RPBAs), a trilateral instrument used by the EU, UN, and WBG. On forced displacement, strategic and operational alignment between the WBG and UNHCR has led to complementarity in programming and coordinated policy dialogue with client governments, as well as the 2019 establishment of the WBG-UNHCR Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement.
Looking ahead, the enhanced IDA investments, along with IBRD, trust fund, and private sector resources, will drive increased and tailored WBG engagement in FCV settings.
Despite progress, the challenges to the WBG’s work in FCV-affected countries remain formidable. Given the heightening geo-political tensions, notably the recent conflict in Ukraine, and a slow recovery after COVID 19, a number of key strategic challenges have emerged. Addressing these issues is critical to be able to respond to increasingly challenging FCV environments and to enable deeper and more effective engagement. Some of these include: (i) ability to adapt in volatile situations; (ii) the prevention and transition agenda; (iii) increasing engagement on FCV in Middle-income countries; and (iv) private sector development in the context of increased instability.
As envisioned in the FCV Strategy, a mid-term review (MTR) focusing on the operationalization of the FCV Strategy is being conducted. The objective of the review is to take stock of where the World Bank Group is as regards the implementation and operationalization of the FCV Strategy. The MTR aims to identify areas where the WBG may need to adjust how it works in and on FCV for the remainder of the FCV Strategy period and beyond.