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Failed States Index 2013: The Troubled Ten

Published June 24, 2013 | By J. J. Messner & Kendall Lawrence

Though it is called the Failed States Index, that is not to say that every country on the FSI is a failed state — after all, Finland is ranked on the FSI. That is also not to say that any country on the FSI is necessarily failed — though Somalia might be the closest approximation to what many people may consider to be a failed state. Rather, the Failed States Index measures the pressures experienced by countries and thus adjudges their susceptibility to state failure. Ranking top on the FSI does not in and of itself mean that a country is failed — it simply means that of all countries, that one country is the most at risk of failure.

Anatomy of a Storm: Regional Impacts of the Arab Spring

Published June 24, 2013 | By Nate Haken

Does state failure matter? Obviously it matters mostly for the population of that country, but even for its neighbors, the answer is a resounding yes. Chaos in a single country can often impact an entire region. In 2011, as measured in the 2012 FSI, Tunisia and the wider “Arab Spring” were the case in point. In 2012, Mali — the most worsened state in the 2013 FSI — dragged the Western Sahel into a vortex of instability.

The Dark Side of State Building: South Sudan

Published June 24, 2013 | By Nate Haken & Patricia Taft

For sustainable human security, statebuilding is the only endgame. Absent the state, traditional mechanisms and authority structures might indeed manage communal issues, perhaps even better than would the state. Trans-communal issues like environmental degradation, complex humanitarian emergencies, and large scale conflict, however, go beyond the jurisdiction and capacity of such entities. Building a legitimate, professional, and representative state, therefore, is the only way to address the problems of the modern, interconnected world. This process is inherently messy, however, as demonstrated in the case of the world’s newest state, South Sudan, number four on this year’s Failed States Index.

The Recovery of Somalia: Check Back With Us Again Next Year

Published June 24, 2013 | By Felipe Umaña

Somalia has been what many would describe as the quintessential “failed state” since the inception of the Failed States Index (FSI). Struggling with an occasionally unforgiving semi-arid topography in much of the North, widespread poverty as a result of tight competition for few resources, and mired by high levels of insecurity, an inchoate political system, and a disjointed sovereignty, Somalia has performed poorly in virtually every indicator measured on this and other global indices.

The Year of Red-Line Diplomacy

Published June 24, 2013 | By Patricia Taft

The top several tiers of the annual Failed States Index (FSI) are often occupied not only by weak and fractured states at risk for conflict, but also states that have, over the years, been the proverbial thorns in the side of the international community. Each year these chart toppers, often impervious by either choice or circumstance to reform, test the mettle of world leaders tasked with coming up with strategies for dealing with their dangerous behavior.

Multidimensional Solutions: The Four D’s of Human Security

Published June 24, 2013 | By Krista Hendry

Tackling state fragility — once it has been identified by tools such as the Failed States Index (FSI) — is by no means a simple or straightforward task. Nor is it a one-dimensional task that can be undertaken alone. Building a state and society that protects human security requires a multifaceted strategy by a team of committed actors to stand any chance of being effective.

No State is an Island: The Importance of a Multisectoral Approach

Published June 24, 2013 | By Krista Hendry

In the 2013 Failed States Index (FSI), we call attention to the linkages between the underlying causes of state fragility. Essentially, no failed state is an island, and pressures in one state, no matter how seemingly isolated, often lead to wider destabilization. The pressures that can underlay and even lead to violent conflict are normally a combination of economic, social, environmental, and political factors that can reinforce each other, pushing countries or communities into greater instability if not addressed.

Failed States Index 2013: The Book

Published June 24, 2013 | By J.J. Messner, Nate Haken, et al.

The Failed States Index, produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure. By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, The Failed States Index—and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built—makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policy-makers and the public at large.

Press Release: Failed States Index 2013 Released

Published June 23, 2013 | News from The Fund for Peace

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Fund for Peace today released the ninth edition of its annual Failed States Index (FSI), highlighting global political, economic and social pressures experienced by states. The 2013 FSI ranks Somalia as number one for the sixth consecutive year, despite the country having improved its score since 2012 and having demonstrated promising gains in its fight against lawlessness, ineffective government, terrorism, insurgency, crime, and pirate attacks against foreign vessels. Meanwhile, Finland has remained in the best position, with Switzerland becoming the first non-Scandinavian country to crack the best three rankings. Nations at the best end of the FSI benefit from strong social and economic indicators, paired with excellent provision of public services and respect for human rights and the rule of law. The United States improved its score slightly, ranking 159th of 178.

Liberia: Mitigating Conflict through Responsible Resource Distribution and Management

Published June 14, 2013 | By Krista Hendry and George Wah Williams

Over the past decade, the Liberian economy has rebounded from fourteen years of civil war. Its GDP has had measurable growth since 2004 and the African Development Bank predicts a growth rate of over 7% in 2013. This is in part due to financial and technical aid from donor countries and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of international companies in fields like mining, timber, rubber and palm oil. The input of aid in key sectors, such as infrastructure, facilities, and power generation, has the potential to strengthen the economy and raise the income level of the population.

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