Now that We Have Your Attention

Published June 29, 2012 | By Krista Hendry and Nate Haken

The publication of the Failed States Index (FSI) each year leads to a flurry of discussion and debate in national media outlets and blogs all over the world. This year, its reception in Indonesia has caught our attention. At first, as frequently happens, the politicians disagreed with our findings and even publicly questioned our intentions and qualifications. But then they started actually debating the scores as did journalists and average citizens. The politicians spoke about the strong economy (which doesn't get as much weighting on our Index as many would like). Some in the public expressed frustration with corruption and with the distribution of public services. Others pointed out that over the years, there has been progress made on many of the indicators and called on the government to continue to make improvements.

Failed States Index 2012: Change is the Only Constant

Published June 20, 2012 | By J. J. Messner

Upon first glance, it could be easy to assume that there is very little new to be found in the 2012 Failed States Index. After all, Finland has managed to win back-to-back best-place on the Index and Somalia now has the ignominious distinction of five-straight worst-place finishes. Nine of the worst ten in 2012 are the same as in 2011; meanwhile, the “best ten” at the sustainable end of the index are the same ten countries as in 2011. So, nothing has really changed, right? Wrong.

Most Worsened Country for 2012: Libya

Published June 20, 2012 | By J. J. Messner

It probably comes as little surprise that the most worsened country in the 2012 Failed States Index was Libya. As the convulsions of the Arab Spring reached Libya, the nation spiraled from protest to brutal repression to civil war to regime change. Though Libya’s decline in the 2012 Index is hardly shocking, what does make it all the more remarkable is the scale of that decline. Indeed, the 16.2 point year-on-year increase since the 2011 Index marks the largest single year decline of a country in the history of the Failed States Index, eclipsing the previous record of 11.9 point jump experienced by Lebanon between 2006 and 2007 as a result of the short conflict with neighboring Israel. Libya also shot up 61 places, from 111th in 2011 to 50th in 2012.

Most Improved Country for 2012: Kyrgyzstan

Published June 20, 2012 | By Patricia Taft

The most improved country in the 2012 Failed States Index, the landlocked Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan, seems an unlikely one. Since independence from Russia in 1991, the country has been beset with a host of problems that have spanned political, social and economic lines. Like several of its Central Asian neighbors, the country plays host to various ethnic minorities, with Uzbeks the predominant group in the South of the country. Keeping in line with several other Central Asian Republics, Kyrgyzstan was ruled from independence by a series of authoritarian regimes which brutally quelled opposition and strangled freedom of expression in all its forms. Adding to the tinderbox are myriad demographic pressures resulting from disputes over natural resources, particularly in the Ferghana Valley, as well as the country’s complex relationship with Russia and, at times, the U.S.

Failed States Index Trends Over Time

Published June 20, 2012 | By Nate Haken

Shocks and stresses rocked the international system over the last five years. A food crisis swept the globe in 2008 sparking violence and political turmoil from the Caribbean to Southeast Asia. This was followed in 2009 by the worst global economic downturn since World War II. Then, with the earthquake in Haiti and the flooding in Pakistan, 2010 was the second most deadly year since the 1980s for natural disasters. If 2010 was among the most deadly, 2011 was the most costly ever recorded, as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Then, also in 2011, a contagion of democracy and civil war was unleashed across North Africa and the Middle East, inspiring populist movements all over the world.

Technology for Conflict Assessment

Published June 18, 2012 | By Krista Hendry

One of the greatest challenges in assessing the potential for violent conflict or state collapse is data collection. Despite ten years of constant work to find or develop new ways to collect or create data, there is still much left to be done. Working with partners in the air and on the ground, we are trying to improve our ability to perform assessments with greater efficiency, accuracy, and at levels of granularity that makes the analysis more useful in the design of responses.

Press Release: Failed States Index 2012 Released

Published June 18, 2012 | News from The Fund for Peace

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Fund for Peace today released the eighth edition of its annual Failed States Index (FSI), highlighting global political, economic and social pressures experienced by states. The 2012 FSI ranks Somalia as number one for the fifth consecutive year, citing widespread lawlessness, ineffective government, terrorism, insurgency, crime, and well-publicized pirate attacks against foreign vessels. Meanwhile, Finland has remained in the best position, with its Scandinavian neighbors Sweden and Denmark rounding out the best three rankings. All three nations benefit from strong social and economic indicators, paired with excellent provision of public services and respect for human rights and the rule of law.