Published on Nasikiliza

How does the World Bank design a quick yet sustainable disaster recovery solution?

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Ayaz Parvez Ayaz Parvez

On March 15, Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe and we were faced with a twofold challenge. First, how would we design a disaster recovery solution that could deliver both quick yet sustainable results to put the cyclone affected people back on the path of resilient and sustainable recovery? And secondly, how would we efficiently and effectively implement this in a fragile country where the Government cannot receive direct funding from us?

For us to deliver quick and sustainable results which would rebuild livelihoods through conditional cash transfer and restoration of agriculture and livestock, implement vulnerability targeting through unconditional cash, offer immediate health services, and rebuild community infrastructure – schools, roads, irrigation, disaster protection, we were going to need to take a holistic approach.

But the biggest challenge was not the “what” part but the “how” part.

To deal with this, we collaborated with an internal team specializing in UN relationships, and came up with a few key approaches:

  • A “One Project, One Team” Model
    UN agencies have clearly demarcated roles and responsibilities and have committed to working together to avoid duplications and creating mutually complementary outcomes
  • Selecting Partners that maximize fiduciary consistency and safeguards compliance
    All UN agencies selected are signatories to the Financial Management Framework Agreement (FMFA) with the Bank and hence well-aligned with the Bank’s fiduciary requirements.
  • Keeping Government at Center Stage and Implementing through Partners
    The government is part of a central consultative group to make strategic decisions, and that all operational matters like the targeting of project interventions is led by the provincial and local tiers of government.


Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez

Former Regional Director, Africa, Sustainable Development Practice Group

Ayaz Parvez

Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice

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