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United Nations/World Bank: Updated Partnership Framework to Reduce Human Vulnerability to Violent Conflict

(Apr. 28, 2017) On April 22, 2017, the United Nations and the World Bank signed a partnership framework aimed at “building resilience for the most vulnerable people by reducing poverty, promoting shared prosperity, enhancing food security, and sustaining peace in crisis-affected situations.” (Press Release, U.N. Secretary-General, Joint Statement on Signing of New UN-World Bank Framework to Build Resilience and Sustain Peace in Conflict Areas (Statement), United Nations website (Apr. 22, 2017).)

According to a joint statement issued by the two partners, the framework, which updates one they signed in 2008, builds on their efforts to strengthen collaboration in crisis situations and is a response to global calls for the U.N. and World Bank to cooperate more closely to prevent disasters and reduce human vulnerability in the face of a world-wide spike in violent conflict. (Id.; United Nations-World Bank Partnership Framework for Crisis and Post-Crisis Situations (signed Oct. 24, 2008), The World Bank website.) The statement notes that the costs of violent conflict, in human and economic terms, “are massive, affecting long-term stability and prospects for economic development and poverty reduction,” and the U.N. estimates that in 2017 $22.1 billion will be needed for humanitarian assistance, an increase of over $11 billion over the $9 billion required only five years ago.  (Statement, supra.)

The framework also reflects commitments made in May 2016 at the World Humanitarian Summit calling for a “new way of working” that shifts the focus from “meeting needs” to “reducing needs, risks, and vulnerability.” (Statement, supra; Core Responsibility 4: Changing People’s Lives: From Delivering Aid to Ending Need, COMMITMENTS TO ACTION (World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, May 23-24, 2016), at 21 (data confirmed as of Aug. 16, 2016).)

The new framework, like the earlier one, sets forth certain guiding principles, to ensure that the two institutions’ efforts encompass a variety of dimensions (e.g., not only social and economic but developmental and security dimensions) to ensure the application of integrated solutions based on each country’s needs. (Statement, supra.)  The framework also highlights the importance of “aligning and leveraging financial resources” and relying more on “innovative, data-driven” response mechanisms.  (Id.)

Areas of collaboration between the U.N. and the World Bank under the framework include:

  • identification and reduction of risks of crisis and prevention of violent conflict in countries or regions within both partners’ mandates;
  • coordination of support for protracted crisis situations;
  • development of joint analyses and tools; and
  • scaling up of impact “by leveraging existing financing and comparative advantages and ensuring that operational policies, frameworks, and tools used by both organizations facilitate cooperation and improve efficiency and complementarity.” (Id.)