The Fragile 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 Fragile 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.
Published June 27, 2016 | By J.J. Messner
As the civil war in Syria enters its sixth year, its effects continue to wreak havoc not only on its own war-ravaged population, but also upon countries farther afield. In the 2016 Fragile States Index, Syria was again one of the most worsened countries year-on-year, catapulting them into the list of the top ten most fragile countries on the planet. To date, thousands of Syrians have made treacherous and uncertain journeys across land and sea to the relative safety of Europe, and it is likely that many more will continue to do so. The countries of Europe – particularly those situated on a trajectory between Turkey and Germany and Scandinavia – have found themselves overwhelmed by the influx, and have responded to these pressures with attempts to close previously open borders. At the same time, ultra-nationalistic, right-wing, anti-immigrant political parties in multiple countries across the continent have taken the opportunity to politically manipulate the crisis and further destabilize domestic politics.
Published June 24, 2016 | By J. J. Messner
As the dust settles on the historic Brexit vote and its effects, it is easy to focus on the near term, visible side effects. Even in the unlikely event that Britain manages to negotiate an association deal that is as good as being in the European Union, it will now no longer have a voice in that Union. There are also murmurings of a second independence referendum that could see Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to “Remain,” finally leave the United Kingdom and rejoin the European Union, thereby ripping Britain apart. Add to that the ramifications for Northern Ireland, or the renewed Spanish questioning of the sovereignty of Gibraltar. The immediate crash of the Pound and the FTSE forebode financial turmoil to come as trade between the UK and its neighbors is threatened with a significantly less liberal trading regime, which even in a best case scenario will see transfer costs increase. Further, there will be much uncertainty regarding the future ability of millions of British citizens to live and work easily across 27 other countries – or that of millions of Europeans who attend British universities or staff its hospitality, trade, and financial sectors.
Published June 14, 2016 | By The Fund for Peace and Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta*
Elections have been a cyclical driver of conflict risk and violence in Rivers state since 1999. The state was reported to have had the highest number of violent incidents during the 2015 general elections in Nigeria. In the lead-up and aftermath of the 2016 legislative election rerun on 19 March, Rivers was once again marred by widespread political and cult violence with fatalities in the lead-up surpassing any period since 2009. This ongoing cycle of insecurity is not only impacting the citizens of the state, but also business.
Published May 26, 2016 | By Partners for Peace, Fund for Peace, PIND
Violence has been increasing in the Niger Delta over the last several years. According to data formatted and integrated onto the Peace Map, in Quarter 1 of 2016, the number of fatalities reached the highest point since the end of the militancy, in late 2009. The conflict landscape in the Niger Delta is layered and complex, involving communal tensions, political competition, organised criminality, and resource-based conflicts; exemplified by militancy, piracy, cultism, election violence, armed robbery, kidnapping, and land disputes that differ from state to state and LGA to LGA. Data sources include ACLED (www.acleddata.com), Nigeria Watch (www.nigeriawatch.org), NSRP Sources (focused on violence against women and girls), as well as the IPDU SMS early warning system, and others.
The first local dialogue was held on February 22 in Bolgatanga, Upper East region. The dialogue, led by WANEP-Ghana, was attended by stakeholders including the Ghana Police Service, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Traditional leadership, the Shanxii Mining Company, small scale mining groups, the Talensi and Nabdam District Assemblies, the local media (Ghana News Agency) and the Lands Commission.
In the early morning hours of February 9, 2016, in a sprawling camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s Borno State, three young girls thought to be looking for shelter, were welcomed inside. What the guards who admitted them didn’t know, however, was that each was wearing an improvised explosive device strapped to her body. Minutes later, two of those girls were dead and, with them, an estimated 58 other victims, including many families seeking shelter from a raging insurgency that had driven them from their homes. An additional 80 people were badly wounded. Attacks like this have come to characterize the insurgency that has raged in northern Nigeria since 2009. Recently, however, data and research by The Fund for Peace (FFP), a Washington, D.C.-based NGO, indicates that Boko Haram has fundamentally shifted its tactics and its targets.
The use of women and children as weapons of war in northern Nigeria and in neighboring countries is undoubtedly horrific, there is often the tendency to paint the phenomenon with a broad brush that identifies the bombers as victims without agency, or the right of choice, in their fate. To the extent that this assumption has implications for response, it should be acknowledged that the question of agency is inevitably much more complex and uncomfortable. Certainly, no ten-year-old child can be said to be of a mental and emotional maturity to make such a fatal choice. However, the assumption that the women and children who have carried out these attacks are all abductees is false.
Launched in 1996, the Roundtable was the first forum designed for multinational businesses and mainstream human rights organizations to discuss issues of common concern in an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and confidentiality. Today, the Roundtable focuses exclusively on the extractive industry, although the lessons learned and case studies of the Roundtable provide value to all sectors. The Roundtable is an invaluable resource for corporations and NGOs to work together to promote sustainable development.
In December 2015, FFP and WANEP-Ghana delivered local training workshops in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region, and Takoradi, Western Region. Both trainings focused on sensitizing the VPs initiative and guidelines, as well as introducing ways to mitigate conflict through available grievance mechanisms, and promoting peacebuilding and conflict early warning in communities. Twelve participants were attended each of the full day courses co-presented by WANEP-Ghana and FFP.