FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2015 Fragile States Index Released: South Sudan most fragile state for second year in a row; Finland remains at best position; Ukraine, Russia, Syria, Libya, and Mali worsen; Cuba, Georgia, Portugal, and Zimbabwe make gains.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Fund for Peace (FFP) releases its eleventh annual 2015 Fragile States Index, the spiral of state fragility, and the cycles of insecurity and poverty that come along with it, are exceedingly hard to break.
The Fragile States Index examines 178 countries, across 12 social, economic, and political indicators (and 100 sub-indicators) of pressures experienced by countries. The indicators assess state pressures such 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 over 40 million publicly available documents, additional quantitative data, and assessments by analysts. A high score indicates high pressure on the state and therefore a higher risk of instability.
South Sudan makes Most Fragile State for second time
South Sudan has topped the Fragile States Index for the second year in succession, as the country continues to be wracked by internal conflict, fractious politics, and poverty. South Sudan is joined at the most fragile end of the Index by countries that have long struggled, such as Somalia, Central African Republic, Sudan, and D.R. Congo. However, a lack of change at the most fragile end of the Index — not to mention a similar lack of change at the sustainable end of the Index, where primarily Scandinavian countries continue to excel — belies the significant movement of a number of countries over the past year and indeed the past decade.
According to FFP Executive Director, J.J Messner, “When you see the most fragile countries continuing to worsen and the most stable countries continuing to improve over time, it suggests fragility begets fragility and stability begets stability.”
Decade trends reflect continued strife in Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq
In the 2015 FSI, Syria became one of the top ten most fragile countries for the first time in the history of the Index. Reflective of the escalating insecurity in the post-Arab Spring world, marred by complex local ethnic and social-economic tensions overlaid with sectarian Sunni and Shia divides and regional power plays, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Iraq all made the top ten in the Most Worsened countries for 2015. Though each country has its own conflict dynamics, political fragmentation and humanitarian crises, the deepening fragility across the four states over the past year is reshaping the whole regional landscape. The headline-grabbing rise of the Islamic State in the past twelve months has exacerbated sectarian divides across the region, contributing to continued insecurity.
Cuba most improved country of the decade
As Cuba continues to dominate headlines in the United States for the thawing of relations between the two countries, it has managed to be one of the three most improved countries of 2015 Index, and also the most improved country of the past decade. Under President Raul Castro’s leadership, Cuba has seen a slow but steady improvement in social and economic indicators. One of the driving forces behind this improvement has been the success of Castro’s economic reforms, slowly opening the isolated country to new foreign investment opportunities.
Ukraine dramatically worsens, Russia not far behind
In tandem with the international headlines throughout 2014, Ukraine’s score worsened by 9.1 points, one of the largest year-on-year increases in the history of the Index. The removal of a president, incursions by Russian-backed rebel forces and conflict throughout much of the country’s east, the shooting down of a Malaysian commercial jet over its territory, and the annexation of Crimea, has contributed to a dramatic shift in this year’s indicators scores. On the other side of the fence, Russia was the fourth most worsened country year-on-year in 2015, with the country beset by the economic pressures of sanctions and plummeting oil prices, and growing indicators of group grievance. Russia worsened from 85th in 2014 to 65th in 2015 Index.
2015 Launch Event — June 18 in Washington, D.C.
The Fragile States Index 2015 launch event will take place on the afternoon of Thursday, June 18 at the United Nations Foundation in Washington, D.C. The event will feature an address by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Victor Ochen, and an expert panel moderated by Foreign Policy magazine Executive Editor Benjamin Pauker. More information and registration is available at http://library.fundforpeace.org/fsi15-launchinvite. The event will be live streamed on FFP’s Ustream channel.
Further coverage of the Fragile States Index 2015 is available at fsi.fundforpeace.org.
Foreign Policy magazine has feature articles based on the Fragile States Index on its web site, www.foreignpolicy.com.
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The Fund for Peace is an independent research and educational organization based in Washington, D.C. with the mission to prevent conflict and promote sustainable security. Visit The Fund for Peace website at www.fundforpeace.org for more information on its work.