Published November 27, 2013 | By Patricia Taft
Every year, when the Failed States Index is published, we are asked to provide an example of a state that is failing “quietly.” A state that, except perhaps for a handful of concerned parties and outside business interests, does not make most international priority lists. And every year we mention the Central African Republic (CAR). This impoverished, deeply underdeveloped, diamond-rich country is in a very bad neighborhood indeed. Now, however, the country has become a fulcrum of instability in its own right. One that, without some immediate efforts to stop what has been rightfully termed by the International Crisis Group as a “free fall,” is bound to set off a new wave of catastrophe in beleaguered Central Africa.
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Published November 27, 2013 | By Patricia Taft
Published November 26, 2013 | By Katherine Carter
Ten years into recovery from a horrific civil war, Liberia’s political leadership is often held up as a model of gender equality in West Africa. Elected in 2006, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is one of only two female African heads of state – President Joyce Banda of Malawi being the other. In 2011, President Sirleaf won the Nobel Peace Prize alongside another Liberian politician, Leymah Gbowee, for advancing women’s rights to participate peace-building work. In keeping with the recent tradition of having strong female peacemakers as politicians and heads-of-state, Sirleaf’s long-time friend and close political ally, Mary Tanyonoh Broh, seems poised to become Liberia’s next political magnate.
Published November 18, 2013 | By Patricia Taft
Monrovia, Liberia: Nearly ten years ago last month, in October of 2003, I first visited Liberia. Back then, the war that had consumed the country and killed and maimed thousands was only weeks in its ending. In the capital, Monrovia, children as young as six were standing on the side of the road holding rusted out AK-47s with twitchy fingers, eyes bloodshot from whatever combination of drugs their “commanders” had given them to compel their participation in horrible actions. Back then, the FFP was researching the willingness and ability of African nations to undertake peacekeeping and humanitarian intervention missions. Liberia was one of the early test cases and, by most lights, was a successful one.
Published November 15, 2013 | By Nate Haken
The Fund for Peace is pleased to advise that we now have Conflict Bulletins available for all nine of the states that make up Nigeria's Niger Delta region, as well as Plateau state. These Bulletins provide an overview of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, Plateau, and Rivers states. These Conflict Bulletins draw upon data from ACLED, AOAV, Nigeria Watch, CFR's Nigeria Security Tracker, FFP's UNLocK, WANEP, and CSS/ETH Zurich. P4P compiles state and LGA-level conflict bulletins to highlight patterns and trends in conflict and peacebuilding.
Published November 8, 2013 | By Katherine Carter
Reports frequently cite fragile states (in particular, those in North Africa and the Middle East) as areas susceptible to a breakdown in social cohesion and security when unemployment rises. Disenchanted young citizens initiated the revolts of the Arab Spring in 2011, as both a protest against political oppression and lack of economic opportunity. Such reactions were not confined to the Arab world -- that same year, British unions staged anti-austerity protests throughout the year and riots broke out in the summer; in New York, the Occupy Wall Street movement erupted in the autumn and spread to other cities; and in Greece, riots occurred in the summers of 2010, 2011 and 2012 against austerity measures and rising unemployment. Specific incidents sparked the majority of these protests, but economic stress remained a major underlying cause of tension.
Published October 11, 2013 | Patricia Taft and Jacob Grunberger
This morning the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This decision seems to be consistent with last year’s decision-making calculus to award the prize to an institution for the purpose of boosting its notoriety and to lend legitimacy to future endeavors.
Published October 10, 2013 | By Katherine Carter
Today approximately 44 percent of the world’s 7.2 billion people are under 24 years old - and 26 percent are under 14. Of those 7.2 billion people, a staggering 82 percent live in less developed regions of the world – primarily sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Currently, the global median age is 29.2 years old, a sharp contrast to Europe, for example, where the median age is 41. This population phenomenon, called “youth bulge,” is especially prevalent in fragile states and Africa.
Published October 2, 2013 | By J. J. Messner
The current shutdown of the U.S. Government, regardless of one’s political views, is pretty embarrassing for the world’s largest economy and (hopefully still) apparent beacon of democracy. Beyond the embarrassing – and some would claim, shameful – debacle unfolding on Capitol Hill, there is a more fundamental question that arises on whether this is a demonstration of the failure of a state. After all, our own definition of state failure includes “the erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions, an inability to provide reasonable public services.”
Published September 30, 2013 | By Nate Haken
It’s difficult to make sense of trends and patterns in conflict risk in Nigeria through screaming headlines and blaring sound bites. To shed some clarity on the matter, The Fund for Peace, in partnership with the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta, has been integrating a wide range of datasets onto a common web map platform. The purpose of this platform is to consolidate any available information on conflict risk in Nigeria and who is doing, what, where to address those risks. An analysis of this data is the basis of a set of state and Local Government Area (LGA) level conflict bulletins published and updated regularly.
Published September 24, 2013 | By Katherine Carter
Despite being indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court (ICC), Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced he will attend the United Nations General Assembly General Debate in New York, scheduled to be held from September 24th to October 2nd. He claimed that United States cannot arrest him on behalf of the ICC because it is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the ICC, and because the UN. grants heads of state diplomatic immunity while attending its conferences. While he’s correct on those points, several other factors complicate the issue. [Updated]