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Fragile States

Fragile states are those most vulnerable to internal and external shocks. Such states lack legitimate institutions, and are thus vulnerable to endemic conflict and crisis.

State fragility contributes to forced migration through many channels. Where apparatus lacks legitimacy, or where effective control and state institutions may be captured by an elite, warlord economies thrive. This will often lead to the persecution of opponent groups within civil society (e.g. Ethiopia, Burma). Fractionalisation within such states can also lead to civil conflict, causing flight due to general violence (e.g. Chad, DRC). Fragile states also frequently demonstrate an inability to withstand economic collapse or environmental disaster, leading to flight from existential threats (e.g. Zimbabwe).

Fragile states also offer particular obstacles to the securing of humanitarian assistance and spaces for protection. Chronic instability, endemic violence and the absence of political control structures have frequently led to the militarisation and politicisation of relief efforts and the failure of the international community to provide spaces for protection.

State fragility is becoming an increasingly important concept for both policymakers and researchers. This resource summary highlights a sample selection of web-based resources that focus on state fragility. Links are provided to full-text documents, journal articles, external resources, and organizations.

Digital Library

Selected full-text documents (for more, search in the FMO Digital Library)

Web Resources

Selected web-based information resources (for more, search the FMO website)

Relevant Organizations

Contact details for relevant organizations (for more, search in the Organizations Directory)

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creative commons logo (CC) BY-NC-ND This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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State Fragility Index: 2009 map

State Fragility Index 2009
Click on the image above for a larger version of the map
© 2010 Center for Systemic Peace

Last updated Sep 06, 2011