2013 Failed States Index Released: Somalia ranked most troubled state for 6th straight year; Finland remains at best position; Mali, Mauritania, Syria and Burkina Faso fall; Japan recovers.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Fund for Peace today released the ninth edition of its annual Failed States Index (FSI), highlighting global political, economic and social pressures experienced by states. The 2013 FSI ranks Somalia as number one for the sixth consecutive year, despite the country having improved its score since 2012 and having demonstrated promising gains in its fight against lawlessness, ineffective government, terrorism, insurgency, crime, and pirate attacks against foreign vessels. Meanwhile, Finland has remained in the best position, with Switzerland becoming the first non-Scandinavian country to crack the best three rankings. Nations at the best end of the FSI benefit from strong social and economic indicators, paired with excellent provision of public services and respect for human rights and the rule of law. The United States improved its score slightly, ranking 159th of 178.

FFP assesses 178 countries because it recognizes that all countries have pressures upon them that need to be managed. The FSI uses 12 social, economic, and political indicators of pressure on the state, which include over 100 sub-indicators. The indicators assess such issues as Uneven Development, State Legitimacy, Group Grievance, and Human Rights. Each indicator is rated on a scale of 1-10, based on the analysis of millions of publicly available documents, other quantitative data, and assessments by analysts. A high score indicates high pressure on the state and therefore a higher risk of instability.

Krista Hendry, the Executive Director of The Fund for Peace, said, “In producing the FSI, The Fund for Peace hopes to encourage discussion, advocacy and action on the underlying conditions that could create conflict and do threaten human security and economic development.”

Countries impacted by the Arab Spring — including Syria, Tunisia and Yemen — continued to worsen. After a significant worsening in 2012, Syria continued its slide as the civil war continued to rage. The conflict in Mali seriously affected its score, leading to the fourth-greatest worsening in the history of the FSI. The trouble in Mali also affected the region in general, with its neighbors Mauritania and Burkina Faso also among the four most worsened countries since 2012. After provisionally joining the FSI in 2012, South Sudan officially ranked fourth in 2012, with a poorer score than last year as serious internal problems took hold, including rampant corruption and the targeting of specific ethnic groups by state security forces.

Hendry said the “FFP spotlights these issues through the FSI to encourage collaboration with governments, companies, and local civil society to alleviate the pressures and improve people’s lives.”

The seven most improved countries for 2013 are remarkably all developed countries — Japan, Iceland, Latvia, Australia, Poland, New Zealand and Belgium. After a significant worsening in 2012 due to the effects of the earthquake and resultant nuclear crisis, Japan bounced back in 2013 to be the most improved nation. Meanwhile, Indonesia registered the greatest improvement in terms of ranking, moving from 63rd in 2012 to 76th in 2013.

Over the last nine years, the FSI has become the preeminent list assessing the pressures on states that affect their citizens on a range of social, environmental, economic, political, and security issues.

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The Failed States Index 2013 will be formally launched at an event on the morning of Tuesday, July 9 at the University Club in Washington, D.C. with the financial support of Creative Associates. Besides a report on the 2013 FSI, an expert panel with expertise in the fields of defense, diplomacy, development and data analysis will explore how different agencies and sectors need to improve collaboration to address the issues of fragile states and to develop local solutions to major global issues such as poverty, weak state institutions, and insecurity. Media is welcome and should contact J.J. Messner at [email protected] or 703-981-3338 for more information.

More coverage of the Failed States Index 2013 is available at

Foreign Policy magazine has feature articles based on the FSI in its July-August Issue available online now.

The Fund for Peace is an independent research and educational organization based in Washington, DC with the mission to prevent conflict and promote sustainable security. Visit The Fund for Peace website at for more information on its work.