After the Second World War much of Europe lay in ruins, with an estimated 60 million dead, hundreds of thousands displaced from their homes, children orphaned and lost, and cities, transport links and industries razed to the ground. Even in the mid-50s Europe was still suffering from the fallout, and capital was needed to boost efforts to rebuild. This was the backdrop for the creation of the Development Bank – the oldest of its kind – which started as a Resettlement Fund with a capital of less than seven million US dollars to tackle the flood of refugees and displaced people.
Over the decades, the Bank transformed its membership, financial resources and scope of action. It now works to fund projects aimed at strengthening social cohesion, linked to but legally and financially independent from the Council of Europe.