What is the Fragile States Index, measuring political and social unrest: how can it prove useful

The Fragile State Index (FSI) ranks countries according to how likely they are to experience violent upheaval or disintegration.
fragile state index

One of the major problems that the globe has today is the prevalence of fragile states.  However, not all states have a secure and stable environment, which is essential to development. Economic instability, social unrest, and Poor governance are all hallmarks of a fragile state.

These countries frequently experience war, humanitarian catastrophes, and political upheaval. The Fragile States Index (FSI) was created to aid policymakers and analysts in their exploration of the nuances of fragility. Here’s a look at what fragile state Index is and how it is used in the study of state fragility.

Definition and history of Fragile State Index

The Fragile State Index (FSI) ranks countries according to how likely they are to experience violent upheaval or disintegration. An yearly index measuring the degree of instability in 179 nations.

It was put together in 2005 by The Fund for Peace, a nonprofit group that does research and education on conflict resolution. The purpose of the index is to help policymakers target the root causes of fragility and pinpoint potentially unstable countries.

The Fragile State Index was created for a wide variety of causes. Concern about the effect of failing states on international stability prompted the development of this measure. Terrorist groups may find refuge in a failed state, which can also exacerbate regional conflicts and create humanitarian catastrophes. Therefore, policymakers required a method to assess the degree to which a state was susceptible to instability so that they could prioritize their involvement.

A country’s level of fragility is assessed using 12 variables from the social, economic, and political sectors. Population growth and decline, forced migration, and respect for human rights are all indicators that fall under the social domain’s purview. Uneven growth, poverty, and inequality are all signs in the economic arena. Factionalized elites, the legitimacy of the state, and the quality of public services are all factors that fall under the political sphere.

How the Fragile State Index prove useful

Researchers, Policymakers, and international organizations, all use the Fragile States Index to better grasp the nuances of state fragility. It gives stakeholders an overarching picture of the factors contributing to a country’s fragility, from which they may draw insights about where changes could have the greatest impact and how to craft interventions that get to the heart of the problem.

The fragile state index can also determine which nations are more likely to experience instability and violence. Political instability, Humanitarian crises, and armed conflict are more prevalent in fragile states. Finding these nations allows policymakers to take preventative steps toward promoting peace and development in an environment free of volatility.

How Fragile State Index has been in action

The Fragile States Index ha multiple applications, all with the goal of fostering stability and progress. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the FSI was useful to determine the reasons of violence and then create programs to fix them. As a result of taking this tack, a comprehensive strategy saw development with the goals of better governance, economic growth, and broader social inclusion.

The fragile state index has been used in Somalia to pinpoint trouble spots that need stabilization. The index has proved useful in determining how to best invest funds and in creating policies that foster growth and prosperity.

Countries with worsened Index

The United States’ total score on the 2021 FSI declined more than any other country from the previous year. Over the previous year, the United States has witnessed the biggest demonstrations in the country’s history due to police abuse. Sometimes met with a heavy-handed official reaction. Meanwhile, attempts to undermine the election process have persisted and have became violent in early 2021.

Armenia, which lost badly in a brief but deadly conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan and then saw widespread rallies against Prime Minister Pashinyan, is the second worst-affected country. As of the end of the year 2020, Armenia has the nineteenth-highest recorded rate of COVID-related deaths per capita.

Hungary, Spain, Czech Republic, Romania, Peru, Argentina, and Croatia are among the other countries that have worsened the most when compared to the previous year.

Read also: The most popular and appreciated political leaders in the world: the ranking

Countries with improved Index

Timor-Leste saw the greatest increase in its 2021 FSI total score of any country. Timor-Leste, one of the world’s youngest countries, has been on an upward trajectory for almost a decade. And in 2020, the country showed its greater resilience by reporting zero deaths from COVID-19.

Gambia ranked second, and it, too, has been on an upward trajectory since the FSI 2018 report. Countries like Cuba, Bhutan, and Uzbekistan, who have witnessed the most progress in the previous decade, have done so through gradual, incremental, and mostly undetected progress throughout the past decade.

Vietnam, which improved its total score by the tenth most over the past decade, showed remarkable resilience in 2020, with only 35 verified deaths attributable to COVID-19 and economic development of 2.9%, the fastest eighth in the world.

Building a more stable and secure world

The fragile state index ( FSI) is an important indicator of a country’s susceptibility to civil war and collapse.

The index is used to direct participation and aid prioritization by policymakers, academics, and other stakeholders.

Using this instrument, we can investigate the root sources of fragility and move toward a more secure and stable global community.

Read also: The 5 key global facts shaping 2023 and beyond: the consequences on a global level

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