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.
With the government of Ghana announcing in 2014 that it would sign onto the VPs initiative as the first African nation to do so, it is now in the stages developing a VPs National Action Plan. Working with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Democracy, Rights and Labor, The Fund For Peace (FFP) in partnership with the West African Network for Peace Building (WANEP-Ghana), will lead a program which supports these VPs implementation efforts across Ghana.
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.
South Sudan has topped the Fragile States Index for the second year in succession, as the country continues to be wracked by internal conflict, fractious politics, and poverty. South Sudan is joined at the most fragile end of the Index by countries that have long struggled, such as Somalia, Central African Republic, Sudan, and D.R. Congo. However, a lack of change at the most fragile end of the Index (not to mention a similar lack of change at the sustainable end of the Index) belies the significant movement of a number of countries over the past year and indeed the past decade.
Every year, the most stable end of the Fragile States Index appears to tell a familiar story. Since the Fund for Peace began assessing all major countries in 2006, Scandinavia has held a near-monopoly on the least fragile end of the Index. It comes as no surprise that once again, 2015 saw the four main Nordic countries come away with the best Index scores. The Nordic Model has garnered praise over the past two decades for its unique mix of social welfare and economic efficiency. This benchmark of a happy, healthy and productive populace amongst Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, has proven not only to work, but is sustainable.
On Monday, the leaders of the G7 made clear that our future will strongly be based on clean energy. In their meeting in the Bavarian Alps, the world’s largest industrialized economies pledged to dramatically reduce or altogether eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the century, a commitment likely to be solidified in December in Paris. As pressure builds for the world economy to expedite a shift away from coal, oil, and natural gas in order to avert the effects of climate change, attention will turn to cleaner energy, such as wind, solar, and hydro power. This should be applauded. But we should not kid ourselves that clean energy will be completely free of challenges. Despite the many positive elements that renewable energy can bring to these countries, the construction and operation of these major projects does not render them immune from the challenges of implementation.
A rapid rise in anti-immigrant violence has emerged in South Africa, with at least seven people killed and many more local immigrants’ properties and businesses destroyed. In response to this wave of xenophobic crime, the South African government announced the deployment of troops to areas that have been most affected by the violence, including parts of Durban in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the impoverished district of Alexandra in Johannesburg.
Published January 10, 2015 | By J. J. Messner*
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.
Published August 20, 2014 | By J. J. Messner
It is easy to view the unfolding events in Ferguson, Missouri as an inherently domestic issue. Much of the domestic analysis so far has characterized this violence as reminiscent of decades past – or lands far away. In the words of Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri, “The eyes of the world are watching.” Governor Nixon was right to say so – but maybe not in the way he intended.
Published July 6, 2014 | By J.J. Messner
Every year the Fragile States Index (FSI) receives its fair share of compliments and criticism, the former often from those who wish to highlight and measure the challenges faced by countries, the latter often from those whose interests or sensibilities have been offended. This is par for the course for any organization that seeks to undertake the kind of research and analysis that FFP has done for 57 years. But every year we are often surprised by particularly unexpected commentary.