fragile states

Is China’s rise relevant to today’s poorest states?

Duncan Green - November 5, 2015

Am I allowed to say that a meeting held under Chatham House Rules took place at Chatham House? Let’s risk it. I recently attended a fascinating conference on UK-China relations, which discussed the two governments’ burgeoning cooperation on development issues. This seems to be turning into a triangular relationship, in which the UK and China combine brains, money and experience to jointly support other countries’ …

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A new/better way of measuring the fragility of states?

Duncan Green - June 12, 2015

Tolstoy opened Anna Karenina with the much-quoted line ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ Does the same apply to states? The OECD’s new report on Fragile States goes some way down that route. Instead of its past (much criticised) single dimension of ‘fragile/non fragile’, it assesses fragility across five dimensions: Violence, Justice, Institutions, Economic Foundations and Resilience. …

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How to fix fragile states? The OECD reckons it’s all down to tax systems.

Duncan Green - February 25, 2014

‘Over-generous tax exemptions awarded to multinational enterprises often deprive fragile states of potential revenues that could be used to fund their most pressing needs.’ Another broadside from rent-a-mob? Nope, it’s the ultra respectable OECD in its Fragile States 2014 report. After years of growth, aid to fragile states started to fall in 2011, so the report centres around an urgent call for OECD member states …

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How to build accountability in fragile states? Some lessons (and 2 new jobs) from an innovative governance programme.

Duncan Green - February 11, 2014

One of my favourite Oxfam programmes is called (rather arcanely) ‘Within and Without the State’. It is trying to build civil society and good governance in some pretty unpromising environments – Yemen, South Sudan, Afghanistan and OPTI (Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel). It’s currently advertising two new jobs (one on learning and communications, the other a programme coordinator), if you’re interested. WWS recently published some …

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Do fragile states evolve like forests? Insights from complexity thinking

admin - January 7, 2014

Oxfam’s engagement with physics-trained complexity enthusiast Jean Boulton is starting to generate some really interesting ideas. Jean has been helping us think through our work in fragile states – the big challenge for a lot of aid organizations over the next few years. Just before Christmas, she came in to tell us where her thinking has got to on the different kinds of fragility. Drawing …

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Aid’s segmented future

admin - October 25, 2013

This piece was written for a blog discussion on the future of aid, which will double up as a Global Policy ebook, organized by Andy Sumner’s new outfit, the Kings College International Development Institute, King’s College London. It’s all part of the build up to their launch conference on Emerging Economies and the Changing Global Order, 7-8 November. One of the most pressing challenges for …

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Working in Fragile States, as seen from Australia and New Zealand

admin - September 19, 2013

I’m currently nearing the end of my three weeks in Australia and New Zealand. These trips typically involve several meetings a day with government officials, politicians, NGOs and journalists. The to and fro produces a churn of topics and ideas, out of which emerge some themes, but you never know in advance which ones are going to dominate. This time around it has been fragile …

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How realtime evaluation can sharpen our work in fragile states

admin - September 2, 2013

Pity the poor development worker. All the signs are that their future lies in working in ‘fragile and conflict-affected states’ (FRACAS) – the DRCs, Somalias, Afghanistans and Haitis. As more stable countries grow and lift their people out of poverty, that’s where an increasing percentage of the world’s poor people will live. And (not unconnected) they are the hardest places to get anything done – …

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What have we learned about crisis/fragile states? Findings of a 5 year research programme.

admin - February 4, 2013

Cards on the table, confronted with a closely argued 11 page exec sum, I am unlikely to then read the full report. But the short version of Meeting the Challenges of Crisis States, by James Putzel (LSE) and Jonathan Di John (SOAS), is a meal in itself. It summarizes 5 years of DFID-funded research by the Crisis States Research Centre, led by the London School …

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How can INGOs improve their work in fragile and conflict states?

admin - July 19, 2012

There’s nothing like the impending threat of giving a talk to make you mug up on an issue, usually the morning before. Today’s exercise in skating on thin ice (the secret? Keep moving. Fast as possible) was a recent talk to some Indiana University students studying the developmental role of the state while enjoying our splendid British summer (ahem). I gave them the standard FP2P …

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