Some of the recurring findings from the literature on the World Bank’s performance in fragile and conflict-affected states include the following:
- Despite efforts to become more conflict-sensitive, the Bank’s approach to conflict-affected and post-conflict states focuses more on ‘doing things differently’ than ‘doing different things’. This is partly due to a continued reluctance to overtly work on political issues.
- Specifically, the Bank’s approach to state-building and economic reform in fragile states remains overly technical and pays insufficient attention to informal institutions, power relations and social dynamics.
- The integration of conflict concerns in its programmes and policies remains uneven across the organisation and limited in depth.
- The LICUS initiative has yielded mixed results. There has been little progress on increasing staffing numbers, improving staffing quality and providing incentives to undertake LICUS work within the Bank.
- The Bank’s results framework still measures success largely in technical terms and may act as a disincentive for staff to take risks which are likely to have positive long term impacts in complex situations.
The effectiveness of World Bank-UN co-ordination is generally assessed in the context of post-conflict reconstruction and peace-building. Key findings include:
- Relations between World Bank and UN staff have largely been constructive, characterised by good communication and strong relationships.
- Nevertheless, coordination and division of labour is not always smooth. At times, competition for donor funds has prevailed over comparative advantages and competences. There is often a lack of clarity regarding formal relations, roles and mandates.
- Joint administration has often created administrative problems since internal procedures within the two organisations are quite different.