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.
Selected full-text documents (for more, search in the FMO Digital Library)
- Long, K. (2010) 'Forced Migration Research and Policy: Overview of current trends and future directions'. Refugee Studies Centre Policy Overview. (See chapter on Fragile States)
Selected web-based information resources (for more, search the FMO website)
- Center for Systemic Peace. (2010) 'State Fragility Index and Matrix 2009'.
- African Union. (2006) 'Draft Policy Framework for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development'.
- Betts, A. and Kaytaz, E. (2009) 'National and International Responses to the Zimbabwean Exodus: Implications for the Refugee Protection Regime'. UNHCR New Issues in Refugee Research Working Paper Series, No.175.
- Crisis Index for Foreign Policy, 'Fragile States Index'.
- DFID (January 2005) 'Why we need to work more effectively in fragile states'.
- Duffield, M., Diagne, K. and Tennant, V. (UNHCR EPAU Report) (September 2008) 'Evaluation of UNHCR's Returnee Reintegration Programme in Southern Sudan'.
- Grono, N. I. (January 2007) 'Fragile States: Searching for Effective Approaches and the Right Mix of Instruments'.
- International Crisis Group (2009) 'The Responsibility to Protect'.
- Menocal, A. (ODI) (August 2009) 'State-building for Peace: Navigating an Arena of Contradictions'.
- OECD (March 2009) 'Ensuring Fragile States are not Left Behind'.
- Stewart, F. and Brown, G. (2009) 'Fragile States'. CRISE Working Paper, No.51.
- 'Survival Migration' workshop, 3 December 2009, Oxford, UK. Organised by the Global Economic Governance Project, Global Migration Governance Project.
- UNDP (August 2008) 'UNDP Policy on Early Recovery'
- United Nations Security Council(1991) 'Resolution 688: Iraq'. UN Docs. SC/Res/688.
- USAID (2005) 'Fragile States Strategy'.
- World Bank (2009) 'Addressing Special Challenges of Post-Conflict and Fragile States'.
- World Bank (2009) 'Fragility and Conflict'. Development Outreach, October 2009.
- World Bank (2009) 'Economies of Civil War, Conflict and Violence'.
Contact details for relevant organizations (for more, search in the Organizations Directory)