Breaking the Cycle of Crisis


In Somalia, where over half the population is in need of humanitarian assistance, the World Bank is financing a $50 million emergency project to scale up the drought response and recovery effort in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  

Today, Bank projects in the poorest countries contain a mechanism to redirect funds for immediate response and recovery. IDA’s “Crisis Response Window” provides additional resources to help countries respond to severe economic stress, major natural disasters, public health emergencies, and epidemics.

Looking ahead, the Bank is working to shift from a focus on response to a culture of prevention by better leveraging its monitoring capacity, operational policies, and financing tools. The Bank is scaling up its work to address fragility, conflict and violence including detecting and preparing for risks before they become crises.

The Bank also works with countries to promote climate-smart agricultural practices, which enrich soil and make it more resistant to drought, as well as crop diversification.

Working with Humanitarian and Peace Partners

As the crisis has unfolded, many in the international community have acknowledged that resolving this challenge amid conflict will require close collaboration among humanitarian, development, peacebuilding and security actors, as well as national governments and others.

Violent conflict has spiked dramatically globally since 2010. About 80% of humanitarian needs are now caused by protracted conflict, underscoring the urgent need for global partners to help reduce the occurrence and impact of such shocks. 

© Jonathan Dumont / wfp

© Jonathan Dumont / World Food Programme

“Our goal is to do all we can together – using information technology, financial innovations, and creative partnerships —to relegate famines to the history books and leave no one behind,” said Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of the World Bank Group.

Some partners are present in areas that the global community cannot reach. Other partners can play a diplomatic and political role to encourage political leadership to address the root causes of conflict.

“We will also keep the longer term resilience agenda front and center, to protect and stimulate markets and livelihoods as much as possible, even as we address immediate life-saving priorities,” said Georgieva.

To foster a comprehensive response, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and President Kim co-chaired a high-level meeting on famine and fragility in April, at the World Bank Group Spring Meetings in Washington DC.  About 50 leaders of multilateral development banks, UN agencies, donor partners, non-governmental organizations and others discussed ways to strengthen collaboration, especially on access, efficient delivery, and to mitigate and manage longer term risks.

The Bank and the UN also signed an agreement on April 22 to work together more closely to provide life-saving support and build resilience for the most vulnerable people by reducing poverty, promoting shared prosperity, enhancing food security, and sustaining peace in crisis-affected situations.

“It’s critically important to help countries prepare for these crises,” said Kim. “We’re working with the affected countries and partners to help end the famine – and we will use every tool we have, including financial tools, to prevent famine in the future.”