Helping Countries Navigate a Volatile Environment

Two billion people now live in countries where development outcomes are affected by fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV). Extreme poverty will increasingly be concentrated in these areas as the rest of the world makes progress, rising from 17% of the global total today to almost 50% by 2030 due to high population growth rates and weak economic development.

For the World Bank Group (WBG), addressing the FCV challenge is a strategic priority, critical to achieve its twin goals to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. It is also important as the global community works towards implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals—in particular Goal 16 for peace, justice and strong institutions.

At the same time, the nature of conflict is changing. After a period of decline since the end of the Cold War, violent conflicts have increased rapidly since 2010. There are fewer large-scale conflicts, but global fragility risks are on the rise. Forced displacement is a crisis centered in developing countries; extremist activities threaten development progress, and citizen security is a growing concern, closely linked to rising inequality. Fragility is not confined to low-income countries, affecting middle-income countries as well. It transcends national borders, with sub-regional or sub-national dimensions. 

The Challenge of Fragility, Conflict and Violence

  • 2 billion people live in countries where development outcomes are affected by fragility, conflict, and violence.
  • By 2030, the share of global poor living in fragile and conflict-affected situations is projected to reach 46 percent.
  • Terrorism incidents have increased by 120 percent since 2012.
  • Forced displacement is a development world crisis: 95% of refugees and internally displaced live in developing countries, originating from the same 10 conflicts since 1991.

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2016

Taking a Differentiated Approach to Address Wider, Deeper FCV Challenges

The World Bank Group will take a differentiated approach to addressing FCV across developing countries, addressing the full spectrum of situations from prevention and crisis response to transition and recovery. As part of this work, the Bank is initiating a joint policy study with the United Nations on the role of development in preventing violent conflict, to inform development policies and programs going forward.

The Bank is also creating a mechanism to monitor fragility risks, piloting a "Global Risk Scan" this fiscal year to improve interventions in countries experiencing situations of fragility, or are at high risk of becoming fragile. The methodology will be refined over a one-year period, bringing together quantitative and qualitative assessments to monitor risks.  

The global forced displacement crisis, which has been building up in recent years, has emerged as an important development challenge. 65 million people reportedly live in forced displacement today—almost 1 percent of the world's population. Left without support, the displaced may face hardship and marginalization, affecting the development progress of host communities.

The World Bank’s new report, Forcibly Displaced: Toward a development approach supporting refugees, the internally displaced and their hosts prepared in partnership with UNHCR identifies areas where development institutions like the Bank can intervene to help reduce the costs of the crisis, working in complementary ways—from before displacement reaches its peak, to longer term support. Improving data collection and analysis is also important, as the basis to develop targeted policies and achieve results on the ground.

This analytical work can guide country dialogues and programs, to set a strategic framework to help governments manage the forced displacement crisis in each country context. This comes as the Bank works to mobilize significant additional resources in this area—including through the Global Crisis Response Platform, which was developed to enable more systematic and scaled-up support in the face of a range of crises by bringing together knowledge, resources, and financial instruments under a single umbrella.

For low income countries, this Platform aims to significantly increase the crisis response capacity of the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries. For middle income countries, over the next 5 years, the GCFF seeks to raise US$1 billion in grants explicitly for Jordan and Lebanon, and an additional US$500 million in grants to help other countries address future refugee crises wherever they occur. This expands to the global level the Concessional Financing Facility for the Middle East and North Africa created in 2015, which has already approved funding to support two projects in Jordan amounting to US$340 million in concessional financing.

To support operational teams Bank-wide, the Bank’s FCV Group works through five inter-related tracks: (1) Knowledge, analytics and data; (2) Forced Displacement and Development; (3) Strategy and Financial Solutions; (4) Operations and Crisis Response; and (5) Partnerships for Peace. FCV Regional Leads and Country Coordinators work as members of country and regional teams to advise on all matters related to fragility, conflict, violence and displacement.

Strengthening Partnerships to Build Resilience

The Global Program on Forced Displacement (GPFD) was established in 2009 with support from Denmark, Norway and Switzerland. It aims to enhance the global development response to forced displacement through economically and socially sustainable solutions.

The United Nations-World Bank Fragility and Conflict Partnership Trust Fund supports strategic and operational collaboration in fragile and conflict situations, with 30 projects collectively valued at US$7.6 million. Achievements include—first diagnostic tool to restore core government systems in post-conflict situations, and a comprehensive joint risk management strategy under the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility.

The State and Peace-Building Fund (SPF), a global multi-donor trust fund established in 2008, is the first-response instrument for Bank engagement in FCV settings. It is flexible in terms of geographic areas, implementation models, and thematic coverage. With its capacity to take risks and mobilize financing fast, SPF projects can demonstrate proofs of concept, leverage additional resources for FCV, and lay the groundwork for conflict sensitive IDA/IBRD operations.

The Korean Trust Fund for Economic & Peace-building Transitions (KTF) established in 2009, supports the WBG’s efforts to address fragility, conflict, and violence by piloting innovative approaches, promoting global knowledge work, and advancing partnerships with Korean institutions. 

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2016

Sharing Knowledge to Promote Peaceful and Inclusive Societies

The Global Fragility Forum, held in March 2016, brought together more than 100 partners, 700 participants from across development, humanitarian, diplomatic and security communities to share their knowledge under the theme, "Take action for peaceful and inclusive societies."

With forced displacement emerging as a significant development challenge, the Bank produced analytical work to further collective action between humanitarian, development, and other actors. A Development Committee paper discussed at the World Bank Spring Meetings in April 2016 detailed the development approach and the Bank’s role, followed by the presentation of a joint approach among 7 multilateral development banks which was discussed at the World Humanitarian Summit. To provide evidence to inform operational work going forward, the Bank launched the report, Forcibly Displaced – Toward a development approach supporting refugees, the internally displaced, and their hosts in time for the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants.in September. The policy research working paper How many years have refugees been in exile? will help improve understanding of the scope of the crisis, to inform policies.

Highlights from the World Bank Group’s Operational Work


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.


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 USD 350 million project will promote inclusive recovery and reconstruction in the conflict-affected areas through reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and the restoration of public services delivery.


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 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.


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 Peace building Fund as well as the MENA MDFT and the World Bank’s Leadership Learning and Innovation Vice-Presidency.


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 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. 

For activities by the IFC, the WBG’s private sector arm, visit: Creating Opportunity in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries

Last Updated: Sep 21, 2016


Forced Displacement: A Developing World Crisis

A new World Bank report, "Forcibly Displaced: Toward a Development Approach Supporting Refugees, the Internally Displaced, and Their Hosts," examines the role of development in addressing the challenge of forced displacement.