Launched by GFDRR in 2018, the Disaster -Fragility, Conflict and Violence Nexus Thematic Area aims to develop integrated multi-risk analysis tools and tailored capacity building, and provide technical expertise and analytical knowledge to support Disaster Risk Management (DRM) engagements in complex settings and scale up interventions that address the interplay between disasters, fragility, conflict, and violence.
To support disaster risk management (DRM) engagements in complex settings and scale up interventions that address the interplay between disasters, fragility, conflict, and violence, GFDRR launched the Disaster Risk Management-Fragility, Conflict and Violence (DRM-FCV) Nexus Program in 2018.
The objective of the DRM-FCV Nexus Program is to raise awareness and foster collaboration on addressing the intersection between disaster, fragility, conflict, and violence both within the World Bank and with external partners.
Approach and Scope
The Nexus Program is conceptually structured in a tiered approach to respond to concrete operational demands along the Sendai Framework entry points, while still bringing thought leadership and knowledge around the topic. This tiered approach is as follows:
- Mainstreaming of DRM in FCV Contexts. The program aims to: i) ensure DRM is regarded as a key priority in strategic discussions within the World Bank Group and its partners; ii) mainstream approaches along the DRM value chain (from knowledge to disaster risk reduction, though governance, M&E, Preparedness, Response, etc.) in key entry points in FCV engagements, and iii) adapt pre-existing tools, and partnerships for a more efficient delivery of DRM in FCV settings.
- Ensuring Conflict Sensitivity. The Global Program raises awareness among operational teams about what conflict sensitivity means in FCV settings, and how it influences project preparation, implementation, and technical assistance, and to create resource hub (roster of consultants and knowledge bank) for task teams needing support to lead conflict sensitive DRM.
- Understanding The Interplay between Disasters and Conflict/Fragility: The Global Program aims to push the thinking further in the topic, with the aim to prepare a methodology to better understand the cost efficiency of DRM measures in conflict environments. (i.e., what’s the differential cost between the recovery process in a conflict/fragile context versus one that is not fragile). It is necessary to highlight evidence regarding the interplay between disaster and conflicts (and associated rising costs), and therefore showcase/quantify the benefits of disaster risk reduction in FCV countries.
The DRM-FCV Nexus program is building a network with development partners which are increasingly working on the DRM-FCV nexus, including the EU, GIZ, ODI, UNDP, and UNDRR.
Global experience has shown that the disaster-fragility nexus is a vicious circle, and that fragility and disasters are mostly mutually reinforcing. Research in 187 countries over the period between 1950-2000 reveals that disasters increase the risk of conflict in the medium-term, and that disasters occurring shortly after conflict intensify the risk of outbreak of violent conflict. On the other hand, evidence suggests that conflict and fragility increase vulnerability to hazards and can weaken the capacity of governments and local institutions to protect communities from and respond to disasters.
Addressing the Nexus is one of the two cross-cutting priority areas set in the 2021-2025 GFDRR strategy, “Scaling up and mainstreaming resilience in a world of compound risks”. These priorities acknowledge the “intersectionality of conflict and disaster risks in a growing number of countries” and the urgent “need for greater inclusion in risk management policy and programming” as many communities are being excluded from resilient development, even more so in FCV contexts. The strategy breaks down the two Nexus priorities into four actionable objectives: i) Scale up disaster-conflict risk analyses (including the development of standardized tools, analytical frameworks, and practical approaches for operating on DRM in FCV settings); ii) Strengthen community disaster-conflict preparedness and social cohesion; iii) Share best practices of global experiences; and iv) Build capacity to find solutions in disaster-conflict situations.
While there is an abundance of technical definitions of intersectional risk, it is not easy to reach a consensus on the universal definition of, and pathways to operationalise, the Disaster-FCV nexus, which remains highly context-specific. The Disaster-FCV nexus can have various forms as the types of fragilities and disasters can vary. However, there is little evidence pointing to linear causality between disasters and conflict. While the evidence base for the ‘natural’ disaster-conflict interface is fragmented and contested, the literature displays a common finding often drawn from case-studies: though the link may not always be a causal one, disasters that occur in conflict-affected and fragile contexts are likely to exacerbate the impacts and fault-lines of that conflict and have the potential to reinforce the drivers of conflict.
The complexity of addressing the Nexus is reflected in the lack of recognition in international policy frameworks and funding for preventive action in FCV countries. The Sendai Framework does not feature FCV aspects as root causes for disaster vulnerability, and financial support is mostly channeled into humanitarian response. Despite this gap, many communities are still being excluded from resilient development, especially in FCV countries. Between 2005 and 2010, for every US$100 of Official Development Assistance (ODA) spent on response in fragile states, only US$ 1.30 was spent on DRM. There is increasing concern that fragile and conflict-affected states are falling behind in meeting the global targets outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030. Developing a sound understanding of the Nexus needs to become a critical factor that development practitioners, working in FCV countries, across disciplines must take into consideration in their programming for resilience building.
Additionally, whilst DRM measures can enhance social cohesion and connectedness, they can also exacerbate fragility and conflict when failing to account for the underlying causes of conflict. As a minimum standard, it is important that measures are designed in a conflict-sensitive way, drawing from the “do no harm” approach. Without addressing the underlying drivers of vulnerability and fragility, complex crises cannot be solved, nor can development gains be secured. While DRM is generally perceived as “neutral,” which could present opportunities for the implementation of development projects in highly politicized/fragile environments, following the Sendai Framework entry points, the DRM community lacks clear arguments through and contextualized tools for a holistic approach to disaster resilience.