Category Archives: Fragile States Index 2018

The Authoritarian’s Playbook: Central Europe’s Slide Toward Illiberalism

At the beginning of the 21st century, Hungary and Poland were frequently lauded as two of the most successful examples of democratic transitions, emerging from the shadow of communist dictatorships and joining the Euro-Atlantic community through membership in organizations such as NATO and the European Union.[1] Today the two countries are again often mentioned together, but now as vanguards of rising illiberal populism and democratic deterioration. The similar trajectories of the two countries is reflected in the trend of several of the Fragile States Index’s (FSI) component indicators, most notably Group Grievance and Human Rights and Rule of Law.

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Resilience Drives a Remarkable Bounce Back for Mexico

In the previous edition of the Fragile States Index (FSI), Mexico was the most worsened country — a decline in Mexico’s economy, the deteriorating status of refugees, and prevalent political corruption had pushed the country to the 88th position on the FSI in 2017, its worst ranking in over a decade. Indeed, Fund for Peace covered Mexico’s rapid decline in an article entitled, “So Far from God, So Close to the United States: Mexico Most-Worsened in 2017.”

However, in a surprising twist, in 2018 Mexico has recovered to become FSI’s sixth-most improved country overall, showing moderate improvements across nearly every indicator. This dramatic shift is largely attributable to the country’s resilience in the face of worsening U.S.-Mexican relations and the benefits reaped from overall improvements in its southern neighbors in Central America. In the face of very low expectations for its success in 2017, Mexico demonstrated continued economic strength and resilience.

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The Gambia Demonstrates the Potential of Regional Action

The tiny West African nation of The Gambia, a tropical country famed for its beautiful beaches, stunning vistas, and warm hospitality, has had a turbulent few years. Ruled for over two decades by President Yahya Jammeh, The Gambia experienced a progressive slide into authoritarianism from 1994 until late 2016, when a political and military intervention spearheaded by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) succeeded in forcing Jammeh’s resignation.

During Jammeh’s 22 years in power, The Gambia experienced a sharp curtailing of basic human rights and freedoms, as well as a crackdown on independent journalism. Under Jammeh’s regime, human rights activists in the country were considered as “saboteurs,” and their offenses were punishable by death. In addition, its strategic coastal location, weak judicial system, and endemic corruption continued to make The Gambia a desirable transit point for drug traffickers operating networks between Latin America and Europe. In mid-2010, The Gambia gained notoriety not only for its authoritarian leader and draconian laws, but also as being the locale of the largest drug bust in the history of West Africa, with an estimated US$1 billion in cocaine seized from a warehouse in the northwest of the country.

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2018 Fragile States Index: Qatar Most-Worsened Country; United States Worsens Significantly Due to Social and Political Pressures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE APRIL 23, 2018 Media Contact: Charles Fiertz, [email protected] Washington, D.C. — April 23, 2018 — Following a tumultuous year around the globe, Qatar, Spain, Venezuela, the United States and Yemen have been assessed as the world’s most-worsened countries according to the Fragile States Index, released by The Fund for Peace today. Ultimately […]

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A Nation Divided Against Itself: Internal Divisions Fuel U.S. Worsening

More than any previous year, the 2018 Fragile States Index (FSI) has demonstrated that rich and developed countries can be just as prone as any other to the effects of fragility and instability – and the United States is certainly no exception. A combination of political and social turmoil, coupled with severe natural disasters, gave cause for a deeply challenging year in the United States. All this despite a strong economy, underpinned by a robust stock market and record-low unemployment, demonstrating clearly that a country’s economic performance cannot be taken as a sole indicator of success.

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Catalan Divorce Proceedings Fuel Spanish Division and Instability

October 1, 2017 marked the beginning of an intense social, political and constitutional crisis in Spain as Catalonia, a semi-autonomous region in the northeast of Spain, attempted to secede from the rest of the country through a controversial referendum. The situation spiraled into chaos as the Spanish government first declared the referendum illegal while the separatist regional administration in Barcelona moved forward with the process anyway. The vote resulted in an overwhelming victory for the separatists only to be dismissed by the government in Madrid and the separatist leadership charged with sedition and its leader fleeing to Belgium.

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Isolated Qatar Worsens Amid Pressure from Regional Adversaries

BY PATRICIA TAFT

In a year of rapidly shifting priorities, alliances and politics across the greater Middle East, the small oil and gas-rich nation of Qatar took the greatest fall in the 2018 Fragile States Index (FSI). With a native population of barely 300,000 and a gross annual GDP of nearly US$181 billion, Qatar has faced increasing pressure from its Gulf nation neighbors for several years, culminating in the 2017 blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. While the full financial and political impacts of the ongoing blockade are yet to be fully realized, the move to isolate Qatar by its neighbors has already had wide-ranging regional and international impacts.

The isolation of Qatar, which culminated in the June 2017 blockade, was a long time in coming – although, several key events during the year may have accelerated its course. For years, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have accused Qatar of supporting Iranian interests in the region and encouraging wider regional revolutionary tendencies – from financing Iranian-linked proxies in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq to supporting Egypt’s deposed Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Qatari-based and financed news network, al Jazeera, has also long been a thorn in the sides of Gulf Arab monarchs, for whom its coverage is often seen as critical.

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Fragile States Index 2018: Issues of Fragility Touch the World’s Richest and Most Developed Countries in 2018

BY J.J. MESSNER It certainly felt like a tumultuous year in 2017. As the wars in Syria and Yemen ratcheted up in intensity, Qatar was suddenly politically, economically and physically isolated from its neighbors, Catalonia moved forward on its attempts to separate from Spain, Venezuela fell further into chaos, the United Kingdom continued to struggle […]

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“Peace-o, Yes-o!” Training on conflict early warning and response with members from across the Niger Delta @P4P_NigerDelta @PINDFoundation

Anticipating the challenges of climate and disaster shocks can help preserve gains made in developing countries and prevent domino effect collapse. Join us Wed 6/5 to learn more @dana_julie @FrigentiLaura and colleagues from @fundforpeace and @UNDP RSVP:

Climate, Disasters, and Other Shocks: Are Countries Ready?

The event will be webcast live from this page. Climate, disasters, and other shocks put hard-won progress at risk of crumbling. Anticipating these cha...

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Economic Fragile States Index by Country: How Stable is Your Country? https://t.co/s9s3mq9NZL @howmuch_net @fundforpeace #corpgov #CEO #CFO #GRC #ESG #Board #BoardofDirectors #directorship #governance #AuditCommittee #internalaudit #Compliance #ethics #audit #FCPA #leadership

Fund for Peace is seeking a new Programs Associate to join our Washington, D.C.-based team. Apply by June 7. https://t.co/nnlhBEhHIK

Congratulations to FFP's Marcel Maglo, who accepted his International Alumni Award for Exceptional Humanitarian and Service Achievement from @kennesawstate

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