World Bank global Fragility Forum: ‘Crises are the new normal’

World Bank global Fragility Forum: ‘Crises are the new normal’
6 March 2024

By the Climate Centre

The Climate Centre last week trailed the forthcoming Movement strategy for disaster risk reduction in the context of fragility, conflict and violence at the World Bank’s three-day Fragility Forum in Washington, DC that ended last Friday.  

The strategy is being developed by the German Red Cross with the IFRC, ICRC and the Climate Centre and will be rolled out later this year.

The World Bank forum encompassed four themes, including the fostering of resilience that specified exploration of “challenges around climate change vulnerability and financing gaps … resilience as it relates to peacebuilding, and supporting peaceful and inclusive community resilience to prevent violent extremism.”

The World Bank says that fragility, conflict and violence create complex risks that connect with civil wars, pandemics, and climate disasters, adding that by 2030 “over half of the world’s poor may live in affected areas”.


Anna Bjerde, its Managing Director of Operations, said in an op-ed for the forum that crises including climate-related extreme weather, disasters, and conflict “are the new normal”.

She cited the allocation by the bank of additional resources to countries at risk of instability in, for example, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo in West Africa “where we are targeting border communities to prevent the spread of conflict, reduce vulnerability to climate change, and strengthen local institutions.”

Bjerde added: “Climate will increasingly drive migration: we estimate that by 2050, the world could see 216 million people compelled to migrate within their own countries due to climate change.”

The Climate Centre was represented at the forum by its innovation lead, Pablo Suarez, as well as technical advisers Sarah Gale and Andrew Kruczkiewicz.

“We heard from heads of state, young refugees, and many others about what should be obvious but still remains hard to overstate: climate and conflict can cause conditions of extreme suffering,” said Suarez.

“It is crucial to re-imagine humanitarian work for the most vulnerable in those places where climate risks are part of a complex web of changing threats.”

Climate Centre cartoons on display at the forum “inspired critical discussions about the intersection between climate, conflict and displacement,” he added.

‘Urgent need’

The centre’s Catalina Jaime, who leads on climate and conflict, says the forum “represents a very important step towards putting people whose lives, livelihoods and well-being have been severely impacted by war and violence at the forefront of climate action policy and practice.

“This is at the core of the COP28 declaration on climate, relief, recovery and peace whose implementation will be discussed next week at Wilton Park.

“There is an urgent need for investment in climate action to avoid aggravated impacts that will reduce vulnerable people’s resilience still further.”

The Climate Centre continues supporting the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and partners with climate action for people affected by conflict, including scientific advice on the integration of climate risks into ICRC operations worldwide.

The hybrid Washington, DC forum included both high-level panel discussions and technical sessions, as well as “creative and interactive learning events to engage participants, promote networking, highlight successes, and showcase innovations”.

There were “talk-shows to showcase entrepreneurs, artists, and athletes, lightning talks around innovations … and a technology segment [showcasing] cutting-edge tools and techniques.”

WFP food aid in Kabul, Afghanistan, long a conflict state also acutely affected by climate impacts, particularly drought. It’s also one of the conflict-affected countries for which the Climate Centre has generated detailed advice on climate impacts. The photo was among those used by the World Bank to illustrate the 2024 Fragility Forum in Washington, DC last week. (Photo: WFP via World Bank)