Published on Development for Peace

Korea and the World Bank mark 10-year partnership helping fragile countries transition from conflict to peace

This page in:
Young women learn computer skills in Pakistan.  Photo: Visual News Associates / World Bank Young women learn computer skills in Pakistan. Photo: Visual News Associates / World Bank

Muhammed Uzair Khan lives in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. He was always looking for an opportunity that would enable him to earn money by offering his writing services but didn’t know how.  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is Pakistan’s third most populated province and has a large youth population under the age of 30 that suffers from significant unemployment. Then he heard about the Youth Employment Program—a program that develops skills training, entrepreneurship and business incubation initiatives.  Now Muhammed has improved his writing skills and has gained the practical knowledge to “reach the world”.  

Muhammed is just one of many who have benefited from projects funded by The Korea Trust Fund for Economic and Peace-Building Transitions (KTF)—a partnership between the World Bank Group (WBG) and the Government of Korea to address the development challenges of fragility, conflict and violence (FCV). In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a grant from the KTF is providing skills training, entrepreneurship and business incubation initiatives financed by the government with the goal of creating 75,000 new jobs. 

Since 2009, the KTF has provided USD 39.3 million in innovative financing for FCV-related issues in 66 projects across 46 countries . The recently published report, The Korea Trust Fund for Economic and Peace-Building Transitions: 10 Years of partnership between the World Bank Group and Korea, celebrates these achievements and highlights the work done to help FCV-affected countries through data, analytics and flexible, innovative financing.  KTF’s support for the FCV Strategy (2020-2025) by facilitating regional consultations further underscores this partnership. 

Transitioning out of fragility is one of the key pillars of the FCV Strategy and an area of engagement for the KTF.  In Myanmar—where many challenges remain to moving away from a military to civilian rule—the transition from conflict to peace has been difficult, especially after the 2017 clashes in Rakhine State led to many deaths and the outflow of over 700,000 Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh. A KTF grant helped the WBG integrate conflict sensitivity measures into a rapidly growing portfolio, ensuring that communities most in need benefitted from support, while providing inputs to help inform the overall peace process.

Similarly, through the Inclusion and Peace Lens (IPL), the KTF is helping task teams screen projects for conflict and exclusion risks, and to identify opportunities for promoting peace and inclusion in Myanmar.  It does this by asking task teams specific questions to help them assess the conflict sensitivity of the project and includes hands-on support from the IPL team.   This flagship tool is also informing the development of peace lenses in several other FCV settings.

Together, The KTF and the World Bank are addressing FCV challenges by supporting projects that pilot innovative approaches, generate knowledge, and improve the monitoring of crisis risk for better prevention . In fragile and conflict-affected settings, it is often very difficult to access remote and insecure areas.  Applying easy-to-use technology can facilitate supervision, monitoring and evaluation of these areas. A KTF grant provided support to the Geo-Enabling initiative for Monitoring and Supervision (GEMS) – a method that enables project teams to use simple open-source tools to collect structured digital data directly from the field. Over 2,000 partners and field staff have been trained on GEMS, and this technology has been implemented in close to 400 projects and in 30 countries, prompting the UN Innovation Network to feature it among its Best of 2020 selection. The KTF is also facilitating knowledge exchange between the World Bank and Korea on use of innovations and technology in addressing the impact of COVID-19.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, GEMS has re-purposed some of its core activities to a remote online model.  For example, local stakeholders are using GEMS to track medication and personal protective equipment, map transmission hotspots, and supervise health centers. Through virtual client training, teams are expanding support to client countries around the world and making a real difference in tackling the pandemic. Because the pandemic has intensified existing sources of fragility and affected the most vulnerable, the KTF is redirecting funds to where they are most needed. 

The Socio-economic Reintegration of Ex-combatants in Southern Thailand Project is being reoriented by using the current project case workers and facilitators to collect data through biweekly phone interviews with selected community members in villages to assess the nature and scope of COVID-19 impacts.  The phone surveys have highlighted gaps in the response, including communication measures and poor access to cash safety nets, as well as strains on household livelihoods.  This valuable information will be used to mount a tailored response to the pandemic in the region.  

The 2019-2020 KTF Annual Report highlights the KTF’s contribution to the development of the FCV strategy, strengthening partnerships with Korean institutions and support to mitigating the COVID-19 crisis.  KTF grants with commitments of USD 8 million have supported WBG operations totaling almost USD2.6 billion–demonstrating the strong commitment by the WBG and the Government of Korea to helping countries address conflict and transition out of fragility.


Valery R. Ciancio

Senior Operations Officer

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000