Simon Maxwell

Six approaches to fragile states

Six approaches to fragile states, ODIOverseas Development Institute (London) Blog, January 2006

Put aside the controversy about the term 'fragile state', which many developing countries find offensive; and also the debate about which countries at which times fall into the category. The key questions policy-makers ask are about the instruments available to outsiders who might wish to take an interest, and about the principles that should govern their deployment. What lies between mild exhortation and full-scale military invasion? And who, when, in what combination and in what sequence, should do what?

The ultimate objective is relatively straightforward. As Ghani et al have proposed, it involves developmental states which are representative and accountable, and which are able to deliver the things people require of their governments: law and order, infrastructure, the supply of public goods, and the provision of social services (Figure 1)............

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