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  • Helping Countries Navigate a Volatile Environment

    Fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) is a critical development challenge that threatens efforts to end extreme poverty, affecting both low- and middle-income countries. By 2030,  up to 2/3 of the world's extreme poor could live in FCV settings. Conflicts also drive 80% of all humanitarian needs and reduce gross domestic product (GDP) growth by two percentage points per year, on average.

    Violent conflict has spiked dramatically since 2010, and the fragility landscape is becoming more complex. Climate change, rising inequality, demographic change, new technologies, illicit financial flows and other global trends may also create fragility risks. Both low- and middle-income countries are affected by fragility risks.

    As COVID-19 (coronavirus) spreads across countries, the impact of the pandemic could be much greater in countries impacted by FCV. These countries face existing challenges due to human capital deprivations, a lack of basic infrastructure for health and other services like clean water and sanitation, as well as weak institutions with limited capacity.

    The World Bank Group is focused on addressing FCV, emphasizing prevention and acting early. We’re also remaining engaged during active conflict, and in countries going through transitions to peace. Stronger collaboration with humanitarian, development, peace and security partners is critical for delivery in challenging environments, such as in the Bank’s response to famine.

    Forced displacement is a developing world crisis, which must be addressed with collective action:

    • There were 79.5 million forcibly displaced people as of end-2019
    • Of those, 82% are hosted in countries located in developing regions. 
    • Nearly 4 in every 5 refugees have been displaced for at least five years. 
    • More than two thirds (68%) of all refugees worldwide came from just five countries.


    Last Updated: Jun 22, 2020

  • As an institution born in the aftermath of World War II, reconstruction and development to foster stability is part of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) core expertise. Responding to an increasingly complex fragility landscape, the WBG is taking a broader approach to FCV that aims to address sources of instability and build resilience. The WBG will also remain engaged during active conflict, and through countries in recovery and transition. Stronger collaboration with humanitarian-development-peace partners is critical to success.

    The $75 billion commitment under the International Development Association’s (IDA) 18th replenishment marked a strategic shift, making reducing the risk of fragility and conflict a top development priority. It enabled the WBG to double resources for countries affected by FCV.  That record financing was surpassed at the IDA 19 replenishment, which includes $18.7 billion in financing for FCV-affected countres. 

    As  countries around the world work to contain the spread and impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) the WBG is taking broad, fast action  to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response and health care systems. Countries in fragile and conflict settings will be among those prioritized for WBG support in the COVID-19 crisis. The WBG’s goal is to:

    • protect the poorest and most vulnerable households
    • protect jobs and businesses
    • shorten the time to recovery
    • support an economic recovery that is broad based and sustainable.

    Building on this progress, the WBG has developed a comprehensive strategy to address the drivers of FCV in affected countries and their impact on vulnerable populations, with the ultimate goal of contributing to peace and prosperity. As part of the strategy development process, the Bank Group held global consultations with a range of stakeholders including representatives of government, civil society, development institutions and the private sector.  

    More and better financing also is needed at scale to enhance the Bank’s effectiveness in the most insecure environments.

    To help middle-income countries address the refugee crisis, the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF), administered by the World Bank and in partnership with the UN and Islamic Development Bank, has unlocked US $2.5 billion in concessional financing to benefit Syrian refugees and their Jordanian and Lebanese host communities, promoting job creation and expanding vital public services and infrastructure. The GCFF recently announced that Colombia is eligible for concessional funding to respond to the needs of Venezuelan nationals who entered the country fleeing an ongoing crisis at home.

    To deliver, the Bank is deepening its knowledge and expanding its ”toolkit” for FCV. This includes:

    • Risk and Resilience Assessments: serve as the basis for country engagements and informs the preparation of the Systematic Country Diagnostics (SCD) and Country Partnership Frameworks (CPF). It also aims to address significant risks and shocks of different kinds.
    • Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessmentsprovide a platform to help governments and their international partners identify, prioritize and sequence recovery and peacebuilding activities and coordinate support for planning and implementation.
    • Joint UN-World Bank Study, Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict: aims to improve understanding of how development processes interact with security, diplomatic, and other approaches to prevent conflict from becoming violent, published in March 2018.
    • Forcibly Displaced Flagship Study: examines available data to better understand the scope of the challenge, and suggests a development approach that supports both refugees and host communities with long-term solutions.

    Strengthening Partnerships to Build Resilience

    Building on growing recognition that humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding efforts are complementary and need to reinforce each other to respond to FCV challenges, the World Bank and the United Nations have launched the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Initiative (HDPI) to work together in new ways across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus in countries affected by FCV. Under the HDPI, the UN and Bank will identify collective outcomes and deliver comprehensive and integrated responses to countries at risk, in protracted crisis and post-crisis situations. This includes sharing data, joint analysis and assessment of needs, as well as aligned multi-year planning across peace, humanitarian and development operations, which are critical to enable collaboration in these countries. In 2017 work began in about seven countries in 2017, including CameroonSomaliaYemenSudan and Northeast Nigeria.

    The State and Peacebuilding Fund, established in 2008, is the WBG’s largest, global multi-donor trust fund established to finance innovative approaches to state and peace-building in regions affected by FCV. It is flexible in terms of geographic areas, implementation models, and thematic coverage, and has the capacity to take risks and mobilize financing rapidly across all income country groups. If is expected to serve as a catalyst for the delivery of IDA18 in FCV and fill gaps in conventional financing. It also offers a coordination platform for the international aid community and FCV countries.

    Last Updated: Jun 22, 2020

  • Sharing Knowledge to Promote Peaceful and Inclusive Societies

    The Global Fragility Forum, held in March 2018, brought together more than 1,000 participants from across the development, humanitarian, diplomatic and security communities to share their knowledge under the theme, “Managing Risks for Peace and Stability.” The Fragility Forum 2020, set for March 2020, was postponed due to concerns around COVID-19 and has been re-launched as a virtual series to be held between June and August 2020.

    With the aim to improve the way in which domestic development processes interact with security, diplomacy, mediation, and other efforts to prevent conflicts from becoming violent, the Bank produced Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict. The report stresses the importance of grievances related to exclusion—from access to power, natural resources, security and justice, for example—that are at the root of many violent conflicts today.

    With forced displacement a continuing issue, in 2017 the Bank launched the report, Forcibly Displaced – Toward a development approach supporting refugees, the internally displaced, and their hosts.


    Highlights from the World Bank Group’s Operational Work

    Horn of Africa: Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project

    This project supports a long-term development response to systemic and structural constraints faced by underserved refugee-hosting areas in Ethiopia, Uganda and Djibouti, further exacerbated by the presence of refugees. It seeks to address forced displacement impacts as a development challenge, as well as a humanitarian and security issue–covering social, economic, and environmental needs in host communities through interlinked technical and investment support. It also aims to help the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) with policy dialogue and engagement, research, capacity support, knowledge management, and partnerships for innovative responses to displacement and mixed migration in the Horn of Africa.

    Iraq: Emergency Reconstruction Project

    In the last two decades, Iraq has witnessed a dramatic fall in almost all human development indicators, and civil war and insurgency have further undermined service delivery. This $350 million project, with additional financing of $400 million approved in late 2017, will promote inclusive recovery and reconstruction in conflict-affected areas through reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and the restoration of public services delivery.

    Central African Republic: Londo (‘Stand-Up’) Project

    With about a quarter of its population displaced, the situation in CAR has the potential to destabilize fragile neighboring countries. The Bank’s stabilization project will provide temporary employment to vulnerable people through national labor-intensive public works programs. The project has successfully deployed in rebel-controlled areas and set examples in partnering with peacekeeping forces and the humanitarian community.

    Pastoralism and Stability in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa (PASSHA) Project

    Pastoralism is key to the economies in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa (HoA). These countries have recently experienced mounting levels of instability and insecurity, threatening the livelihoods of the local farmers and ranchers. In the northern parts of the Sahel and the Sahara, there is a marked increase in all types of trafficking, kidnapping and stealing of cattle and goods. This project will support activities to understand what impact pastoral interventions can have on reducing conflict; support programs to monitor conflicts and provide regional conflict warning systems.

    Lebanon: National Volunteer Service Program

    This program seeks to increase social cohesion and employability among Lebanese youth aged 15-24 through the delivery of soft skills training and the promotion of civic engagement for improved social service delivery. To date, more than 6,000 youths and 120 different municipalities, NGOs, schools, and universities have been directly involved in the project’s activities. This project is supported by the State and Peacebuilding Fund as well as the MENA MDFT and the World Bank’s Leadership Learning and Innovation Vice-Presidency.

    IFC in Iraq: Mass Global Energy Sulimaniya

    In Iraq, the number one concern for many people is a lack of electricity. Power stations and transmission lines are in dire need of upgrade, and demand has spiked in areas affected by the region’s migrant crisis. Low oil prices are straining public finances and the security situation makes investors loath to put their money in Iraq, even for short periods. 

    IFC, the WBG’s private sector arm, and Lebanon’s Bank Audi are jolting Iraq’s power infrastructure back into shape by investing $375 million investment in Iraqi company, Mass Global Energy Sulimaniya. The financing will enable the company to build a new power station near Baghdad, and expand an existing power plant in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The region has experienced a recent influx of more than 1 million Iraqis fleeing violence from the Islamic State, as well as 250,000 Syrian refugees. Blackouts and “load shedding” occur daily across the country. Expanding electricity capacity and repairing transmission lines will go a long way to meet Iraq’s critical development needs after decades of war and under-investment.

    Over the past three years, IFC has invested and offered advisory services worth $2.5 billion in fragile and conflict-affected countries across the world. 

    IFC activities in Sub-Saharan Africa | IFC activities in MENA

    Last Updated: Jun 22, 2020



Focus Area

Forced Displacement

Under its mandate to reduce poverty, the WBG is concerned about the welfare of the displaced as well as their host communities.


Harmonized List of Fragile Situations

The World Bank Group’s (WBG) Fragile, Conflict and Violence Group annually releases the Harmonized List of Fragile Situations.

Financing for Peace

State and Peacebuilding Fund

The SPF is the WBG's largest, global multi-donor trust fund established to finance innovative approaches to state and peacebuilding.

World Bank-UNHCR

Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement

The joint data center focuses on the collection, analysis, and dissemination of primary microdata.


Recovery and Peace Building Assessments

The RPBA is a partnership framework to coordinate reengagement in countries or regions emerging from conflict or political crisis.


The Humanitarian-Development Peace Initiative

The HDPI is a joint UN-WBG effort to work together in new ways in countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence.

Additional Resources

Contact Us

Washington, D.C.
Anugraha Palan
Communications Lead