Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCAS) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Developing context-specific tailored support for FCAS and SIDS is a critical element in ADB’s approach to helping build resilience and secure lasting stability and development in the most vulnerable environments.

ADB's Work in FCAS and SIDS

Despite decades of economic growth and declining poverty across Asia and the Pacific, vulnerable populations continue to be susceptible to drivers of fragility such as weak governance, climate change, and armed conflict or civil unrest. These expose populations to the full brunt of global economic shocks, pandemics, natural hazards, and other external events.

ADB requires a comprehensive approach to address the drivers of fragility; otherwise, pockets of vulnerability will remain and those most in need will continue to be excluded from regional development gains. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has added urgency to this task. The pandemic has exposed the frailty of development success and shown how quickly hard-won progress on poverty can be reversed. Supporting at-risk developing member countries (DMCs) to rebound economically while safeguarding prior development gains is a key challenge for ADB moving forward.

ADB’s FCAS and SIDS Approach (FSA), approved in April 2021, delivers these solutions. ADB is the first multilateral development bank to support FCAS and SIDS together under a single operational approach. The FSA recognizes that despite their contextual differences, FCAS and SIDS face similar challenges and vulnerabilities—for example, a strong need for governance and institutional capacity building, high vulnerability to economic shocks, and less developed private sectors. The FSA’s tailored approaches effectively address both the transient vulnerabilities of FCAS and the more permanent fragilities of SIDS.

The FSA is complemented by ADB’s regional Pacific Approach, 2021-2025, which is designed to support a resilient Pacific by helping 12 of the smallest Pacific SIDS prepare for and respond to shocks, deliver quality and sustainable services, and support inclusive growth. The Pacific Approach applies innovative and context-specific ways of engaging with SIDS, including improved analytics and tailored business processes that focus on increasing efficiency, building resilience, and ensuring sustainable results. It introduces comprehensive climate actions at national and regional levels, rather than project-based, and long-term holistic capacity supplementation to better respond to the needs of each Pacific SIDS.

Vulnerable Country Groups

Image: Vulnerable Country Groups

Excludes Afghanistan and Myanmar. ADB placed its regular assistance to Afghanistan and Myanmar on hold effective 15 August 2021 and 1 February 2021, respectively. ADB remains committed to supporting the economic and social development of the people of both countries.

Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations (FCAS)

Multilateral development banks classify these countries as FCAS based on an assessment of quality of macroeconomic management, coherence of structural policies, degree to which policies and institutions promote equity and inclusion, quality of governance and public sector management, and performance of concessional assistance project portfolio.

FCAS developing member countries are generally characterized by political instability, weak governance and institutional capacity, economic and social insecurity, and greater vulnerability to the effects of climate change and natural hazards. While an FCAS designation is typically ascribed to a country, it sometimes describes a subnational territory that has been destabilized due to fragility, conflict, and/or violence. In Asia and the Pacific, subnational conflict is now the most common type of conflict involving violence.

ADB has used the MDB harmonized FCAS classification system since 2013. In FCAS-classified developing member countries, ADB implements differentiated approaches and takes special considerations regarding resource allocation.

ADB conducts a country performance assessment (CPA) using the International Development Association (IDA) country policy and institutional assessment questionnaire and guidelines. The CPA assesses the performance of each country based on the (i) quality of its macroeconomic management, (ii) coherence of its structural policies, (iii) degree to which its policies and institutions promote equity and inclusion, and (iv) quality of its governance and public sector management.

A country is considered FCAS if it has an average rating of 3.2 or less based on the ADB CPA and the World Bank Group country policy and institutional assessment. A country is also considered FCAS if a United Nations and/or a regional peacekeeping or peace-building mission from such organizations as the African Union, the European Union, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been present during the previous 3 years, excluding border-monitoring operations.

2022 List of Countries Classified as FCAS

In 2022, ADB classified the following 12 developing member countries as FCAS: Afghanistan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Myanmar, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and Tuvalu.

The next FCAS country classification will be conducted in 2024, following the completion of the next country performance assessment.

No CPA was conducted for Afghanistan and Myanmar in 2022 due to lack of information exchange or other communication with the respective governments. Therefore, ADB will continue to apply the 2020 CPA for these countries.

Developing member country CPA/CPIA Average
Afghanistan 2.8
Federated States of Micronesia 2.8
Kiribati 3.0
Lao People’s Democratic Republic 3.2
Marshall Islands 2.7
Myanmar 2.9
Nauru 2.8
Palau 3.2
Papua New Guinea 2.8
Solomon Islands 3.1
Timor Leste 3.0
Tuvalu 3.0

Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

SIDS self-identify as a distinct group of countries with specific social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities, including geographic remoteness and dispersion, small populations and markets, narrowly based economies, low fiscal revenue, vulnerability to exogenous economic shock, high import and export costs for goods, and increasing exposure to natural hazards and climate change.

SIDS in Asia and the Pacific are affected by extreme fragility that can threaten lives and livelihoods, strain state capacity and service provision, and exacerbate local tensions over land issues and other resources.

Sixteen ADB DMCs are SIDS: Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Maldives, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

SIDS can share similar structural constraints to FCAS, regardless of whether they are also categorized as such. The small size, remote locations, and narrow asset bases (often concentrated in resource extraction, agriculture, and/or tourism) of most SIDS complicate public service delivery and leave them exposed to external economic shocks, natural hazards, and the impacts of climate change. This threatens lives and livelihoods and can create debt sustainability issues. For the four SIDS that are atolls, rising sea levels are an existential threat. SIDS can also be affected by instability or conflict—several Pacific SIDS have experienced periods of political instability or conflict in the 21st century. Gender inequality as both a cause and consequence of fragility and instability affects FCAS and SIDS, and some Pacific SIDS experience a high prevalence of gender-based violence.


ADB has developed an approach to ensure that its operations address the specific challenges and requirements of FCAS and SIDS. This approach promotes the use of innovative approaches and technologies built on a solid foundation of data analytics and context-specific knowledge. It delivers integrated solutions by combining expertise across sectors and themes and through a mix of public and private sector operations.


Profile Photo: Elaine Thomas
Elaine Thomas

Principal Operations Coordination Specialist (Conflict-Affected Situations)

Profile Photo: Rosalind McKenzie
Rosalind McKenzie

Principal Operations Coordination Specialist (Fragile Situations)

Profile Photo: Erin Chu Felton
Erin Chu Felton

Senior Operations Coordination Specialist (Fragile Situations)

Profile Photo: Stephanie Kamal
Stephanie Kamal

Operations Coordination Specialist (Conflict-Affected Situations)

Profile Photo: Edward Rees

Edward Rees

Senior Fragility and Resilience Specialist (Climate Change)


For inquiries, send an email to:

FCAS Community

ADB Department
You may contact FCAS and SIDS focal points by selecting a department from the dropdown.

Paul Curry

Nadejda Mochinova
Senior Workforce Planning Specialist

Carmen Garcia Perez
Regional Cooperation Specialist

Narendra Singru
Country Director

Steven Goldfinch
Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist

Prabhjot Khan
Senior Social Development Officer (Gender and Development)

Rose Mckenzie
Principal Operations Coordination Specialist (Fragile Situations)

Wilhelmina Paz
Economist (Regional Cooperation)

Girard Pacifico Marin
Security and Emergency Services Specialist

Neil Hickey
Senior Communications Specialist

Reddy Bathula
Regional Head, Operations Coordination

Kaukab Naqvi
Senior Economist

Dhivya Ravikumar
Markets Development Advisory Specialist

Siddhartha Shah
Director, Markets Development Advisory Division 2

Peter Whelan
Principal Risk Management Specialist

David Hill

Tahmeen Ahmad
Senior Financial Management Specialist

Luke Fochtman
Senior Procurement Specialist

Delaney Miriam
FM Officer (SERD)

David Barton
Principal Investment Specialist

Alix Burrell
Principal Investment Specialist

Paul Flegler
Principal Investment Specialist

Ali Malik
Investment Specialist

Jan Hansen
Principal Economist

Thiam Hee Ng

Charlotte Schou-Zibell

Emma Allen
Senior Country Economist

Kavita Iyengar

Joel Mangahas
Principal Country Specialist

Sunil Mitra
Country Director

Sonomi Tanaka
Country Director

David Oldfield
Principal Planning and Policy Specialist

Masayuki Tachiiri


ADB's FCAS and SIDS Approach (FSA)

Infographic: Objectives of the FSA

ADB’s President approved the FCAS and SIDS Approach (FSA) in April 2021. The FSA is a high-level institutional document that guides ADB's work in its most fragile and vulnerable DMCs. Anchored in a strong foundation of country-specific analytics and knowledge, the FSA champions risk-based project design and context-sensitive project planning, implementation, and monitoring. It mainstreams digital solutions and supports strong partnerships with development partners—for instance, through joint programming, funding, cofinancing, knowledge sharing, or peace-building activities—to ensure a more coordinated response. The FSA complements and builds on ADB's operational plans for the seven priorities of Strategy 2030, and the Operational Plan for Private Sector Operations. It also aligns closely with the Pacific Approach, which guides ADB in supporting a resilient Pacific.

The FSA builds upon a theory of change— a tool that converts theory into practice, or objectives into actions —which outlines how the FSA will translate differentiated approaches into improved project performance, and ultimately improved livelihoods in FCAS and SIDS. The Theory of Change diagram below illustrates how all results, including those targeting ADB institutional capacity, ultimately benefit and lead to improved livelihoods in FCAS and SIDS.

ADB’s FCAS team drafted the FSA in collaboration with an interdepartmental working group comprising members from across ADB. External stakeholders were equally important in the FSA’s development.

ADB’s FCAS team and working group consulted with hundreds of stakeholders from September 2020 to March 2021, including government counterparts from FCAS and SIDS countries, bilateral development agencies, civil society organizations, and multilateral development banks. Their invaluable inputs improved the draft document and ensured it reflected the realities on the ground.

FSA implementation began in 2021. Highlights of support to operations departments includes completion of 3 fragility and resilience assessments, 1 political economy assessment, technical inputs to the design of 9 projects, and the initiation of the review of 3 guidance notes, 2 staff instructions, 2 operations manuals, and 1 template. Of those, ADB completed the review of 1 guidance note, 1 staff instruction, and 1 operations manual. ADB completed a range of activities in knowledge management as well, including co-organizing and participating in 10 webinars, participating in 8 international meetings/conferences, conducting two FCAS-related training programs for ADB staff, chairing the Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) Platform on Economic Migration and Forced Displacement (Q1–Q2) and participating in other MDB platforms, and initiating the knowledge and analytics framework. The annual reports of the FSA will provide details of the achievements and more.

The FSA results framework is designed to assess the FSA implementation, performance, and effectiveness in facilitating institutional, behavioral, and procedural changes. The 18 results framework indicators include 13 existing ADB corporate results framework indicators and five new indicators. Of the 13 existing indicators, three are FCAS- and SIDS-specific designed to look at ADB’s organizational effectiveness and performance, and the results of its completed operations in FCAS and SIDS.

These indicators will measure the institutionalization and outcome of the FSA from the design and implementation levels through to adaptive decision making (exercising the differentiated approach in practice), and on to the achievement of development outcomes at DMC level.

In addition to the results framework indicators, an action tracker will monitor the FSA Action Plan implementation annually, with status updates provided for all ongoing sub-actions. In total, the FSA results framework consists of 18 results framework indicators, 13 key action areas, and 34 sub-actions.

Implementation Pillars

To meet its objectives, the FSA will employ tailored approaches built on three implementation pillars that form the basis for the FCAS and SIDS Action Plan, 2021–2025.

The FSA introduces fragility and resilience assessments for improving ADB project planning, promotes increased use of knowledge analytics and tools, supports institutional capacity building in FCAS- and SIDS-related issues for DMCs and within ADB, and promotes strategic partnerships to enhance coordination at the regional and national level.

Icon: Implementation Pillar 1

Pillar 1

Flexible business processes to improve responsiveness in fragile contexts

Key Action Areas
  • Adoption of risk-based strategic planning and business processes
  • Use of project modalities that are responsive to the needs of FCAS and SIDS
  • Context-appropriate project preparation, design, and implementation procedures in use
  • Integration of digital technologies
  • Improved monitoring and reporting systems that are responsive to the needs of FCAS and SIDS
Icon: Implementation Pillar 2

Pillar 2

Strengthened analytics, knowledge, and institutional capacity

Key Action Areas
  • Enhanced ADB organizational coordination for work in FCAS and SIDS
  • Strengthened knowledge and analytics
  • Improved effectiveness of ADB staff in applying contextual knowledge and skills in FCAS and SIDS
  • More responsive ADB operations
  • Stronger human resource policies and incentives
  • Expanded partnerships and coordination
Icon: Implementation Pillar 3

Pillar 3

Context-specific interventions

Key Action Areas
  • Completed multidimensional fragility and resilience assessments
  • Completed watching briefs on potential context-sensitive situations

Project Cycle under the FSA

Infographic: Project Cycle under the FSA
  • Fragility and resilience assessment
  • Governance risk assessment
  • Other sector and thematic analyses
  • Fragility and Resilience Assessment findings integrated into risk-based programming
  • Indicative Country Pipeline and Monitoring and updates
  • Concept and design incorporating Fragility and Resilience Assessment (at sector/local level)
  • Modalities responsive/adaptable in FCAS and SIDS context
  • Improved project readiness
  • Context-specific capacity assessments
  • Security risk assessment where conflict is present
  • Design and Monitoring Framework incorporating indicators specific to FCAS and SIDS
  • Targeted communication strategy integrating digital technology
  • Strengthened ADB administration (including technical support when required)
  • Strategic and context-specific capacity support for Executing Agency/Implementing Agency
  • More flexible procedures in FCAS and SIDS able to respond/adapt
  • Integration of digital technologies
  • Quarterly portfolio review and semiannual or annual project review
  • Joint (ADB/DMC) review and reporting on context and portfolio performance indicators, and action plan progress (quarterly and annual)
  • Joint (ADB/DMC) decisions on program modification/adjustment/adaptation
  • Core input into FSA annual reporting to Management (on FSA results monitoring and ADF commitments)

FCAS and SIDS Projects


ADB's FCAS and SIDS Portfolio

Image: FCAS and SIDS Portfolio legends

Afghanistan operations in 2021 committed up until mid-August and Myanmar operations in 2021 committed up until end of January. ADB placed its regular assistance to Afghanistan and Myanmar on hold effective 15 August 2021 and 1 February 2021, respectively. ADB remains committed to supporting the economic and social development of the people of both countries.