Development practitioners based in fragile and conflict-affected situations often work in isolation, cut off from colleagues who can share ideas and experience. There is a pronounced urgency to almost everything they do; normal routines rarely apply. Immediate advice from a colleague facing similar challenges can make all the difference.
With this month’s opening of the Bank’s new Global Center for Conflict, Security, and Development in Nairobi, Kenya, development experts will have a new way to reach out. The center serves as a global “hub” to connect those working in fragile and conflict situations across the globe and to provide access to the latest research and knowledge on what works in volatile environments.
The negative impact of conflict on development is of particular relevance for Africa – which is home to 23 of the world’s most conflict-affected and fragile economies,”- Obiageli Ezekwesili, Vice President for the Africa Region.
The center is staffed by a team of Bank experts with experience in fragile and conflict affected situations, working closely with U.N. and other partners.
In launching the center, the Bank is following up on recommendations set forth in the 2011 World Development Report on Conflict, Security and Development. The Bank selected Nairobi as the center’s base due to its proximity to many of the world’s fragile and conflict situations and in recognition of its emerging status as important center for development expertise and practice across Africa.
Tapping into Partner’s Expertise
The Global Center is designed to be a platform for partnerships and knowledge management and to provide support to country teams and clients in achieving and scaling up development results in fragile and conflict-affected situations,” says Joachim von Amsberg, Vice President, OPCS. “We will work in close partnerships with our partner countries and other agencies, including the UN and help implement the WDR agenda of building effective country institutions to overcome fragility and conflict.
Through the center, the Bank will work with U.N. agencies, regional institutions, multilateral development banks, and bilateral agencies, tapping into their specialized expertise in the political, security and justice areas.
One such partnership is a Swiss-financed U.N.-World Bank Trust Fund that supports a program of small grants (up to $100K each) for projects in four pilot countries: Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea-Bissau, and Liberia.
Building on experience
The center is the latest addition to a robust portfolio on fragile and conflict-affected state. The Bank’s International Development Association increased financial assistance to fragile and conflict-affected countries from $772 million in 2000 to $2.6 billion in 2010. In addition, the Bank contributes $33 million annually to the multi-donor State and Peace-Building Fund. It also administers the fund, which supports 40% of affected countries.
Over 20 years, Bank results in conflict-affected and fragile situations include reintegrating 235,300 ex-combatants into society, building 1,190 kilometers of road to increase access to hospitals, markets, schools and work, and creating more than 17 million person days of employment in Afghanistan, Burundi, Republic of Congo and Gambia.