Evaluation Highlights

  • When middle-income countries experience situations of fragility, conflict, and violence, providing assistance can be a challenge for the World Bank Group. The government may have its own views on how and when to tackle the underlying issues, or may be reluctant to increase its borrowing to correct what may be seen as a localized or temporary problem.
  • Through examining such cases, IEG concludes that the Bank Group’s comparative advantage is supporting countries in tackling longer-term development challenges, including early engagement and a sustained presence in conflict-affected areas, as well as continuous dialogue with the parties to violent conflicts, where possible.
  • The Bank has been adept at responding and at adjusting its strategies and analytical support to situations of violence and conflict, but its operational response has been constrained by its limited menu of instrument choices. Moreover, institutional and staff incentives to engage in conflict situations and to take risks seem to be lagging behind the spirit of its strategic approach, as expressed in various Bank documents, including the 2011 World Development Report on conflict, security, and development.
  • The community-driven development model has often provided the Bank Group with a point of entry in conflict-affected areas. Though it has not addressed the causes and consequences of violence, the approach has been useful as a form of establishing a presence and contextual learning to support more ambitious efforts once peace is restored.
  • The Bank Group can further enhance its impact in these situations by exploring opportunities beyond supporting livelihoods in conflict-affected communities, including support for private sector development, using its expertise in public financial management more effectively, and improving its monitoring and evaluation frameworks.


On the World Bank Group strategic approach:

  • Review the institutional setup and interaction of various Bank Group units dealing with FCV matters, to ensure that the FCV CCSA drives substantive thinking on strategy and policy in this area across the World Bank Group.  This would also entail closer operational engagement of CCSA staff with and across the Bank Group members (including IFC and MIGA), and regional and thematic departments.
  • Develop a new multidimensional publicly disclosed system of markers and flags for monitoring and measuring fragility, including in non-FCS countries.  Linked to this, integrate fragility assessments as part of the SCD/CPF process to be applied systematically in countries where conflict and violence or externally imposed fragility constitute a significant impediment to attaining the strategic objectives of the WBG.
  • Scale up regional presence and outlook, including through regional projects and joint analytic and advisory work across relevant countries, and ensure Bank Group sustained presence in FCV-affected areas, monitoring the fragility profile of the countries/regions.

On the World Bank Group operational response:

  • Develop new financial mechanisms or fast-response facilities to be used when outbreaks of violence or external threats jeopardize resilience in MICs. Improve strategic alignment and use of global FCV thematic trust funds, while boosting their agility. Options to consider include using these funds for co-financing small pilot programs in FCV-affected areas with potential of scaling-up.
  • Within the new SCD/CPF model, develop a broader strategic approach to interventions in FCV-affected areas, expanding sector interventions beyond the CDD model, and improving coordination and information sharing within the Bank Group, with particular attention to private sector development activities (through a more customized approach to risk assessment, project mix, policies and procedures), public financial management (including fiscal decentralization and broader use of diagnostic tools), education, and gender (including integration of conflict-specific gender issues in project design and implementation). Strengthen M&E frameworks by including FCV-related outcome indicators.

On partnerships:

  • Develop institutional incentives for collaboration and strategic thematic guidance on partnering – particularly with the United Nations but also with other partners. Introduce systematic communication and staff exchange programs to increase the level of collaboration.