UN and World Bank sign new partnership to build resilience for the most vulnerable

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A new partnership framework agreed by the United Nations and World Bank at the Spring Meetings in April 2017 will take forward the commitment by the two organisations to a New Way of Working in crises, with the goal not only to meet humanitarian needs, but also to reduce needs, risks and vulnerability over time. The framework builds on the Commitment to Action signed at the World Humanitarian Summit, by then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the heads of UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO, OCHA, WFP, FAO, UNFPA and UNDP, with the endorsement of the World Bank and the International Organization for Migration.

Under the new framework, the UN and World Bank will work in complementary ways to: reduce the multi-dimensional risks of crisis and help prevent violent conflict; develop joint analyses and tools for more effective solutions; coordinate support to address protracted crises including forced displacement; and scale up impact by leveraging financing. To advance this work, the two institutions will focus on building resilience in, among others: situations where there is a risk of violent conflict or ongoing conflict; situations with high levels of forced displacement; protracted and post-crisis situations; and when climate change and natural disasters affect these situations.

The agreement comes against the backdrop of massive human and economic costs of conflict, which affects long-term stability and prospects for economic development and poverty reduction. Violent conflict drives 80 percent of humanitarian needs costs, with the UN estimating that $22.1 billion is required in 2017 for humanitarian assistance—a sharp increase from the $9 billion needed just 5 years ago. 

The framework notes areas for operational collaboration in which the UN and World Bank will:

  • Identify and reduce critical multi-dimensional risks of crisis, and prevent violent conflict in relevant countries or regions within the mandate of both institutions;

  • Coordinate support for situations of protracted crisis, including aligning strategies, objectives and collective outcomes, in particular for populations affected by forced displacement, and based on joint analyses and assessments

  • Develop joint analyses and tools where the complementarity of mandates may enable more effective solutions; and

  • Scale up 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.

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Photo credit:  UNICEF/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin