What is fragility?
Fragility is defined as the combination of exposure to risk and insufficient coping capacity of the state, system and/or communities to manage, absorb or mitigate those risks. Fragility can lead to negative outcomes including violence, the breakdown of institutions, displacement, humanitarian crises or other emergencies (States of Fragility report, 2016:22).
The OECD began reporting on official development assistance (ODA) flows, specifically to a group of states affected by fragility in 2005, based on an annually revised composite Harmonised List drawn from the World Bank, African Development Bank and Asian Development Bank, and the Fund For Peace’s Fragile States Index. The aim of these “Fragile States reports” was to draw the attention of donors - members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) - to ‘aid orphans’ and to advocate for more effectively targeted and balanced approaches to aid delivery in these countries. Since then, the annual report has evolved in scope and continues to provide new evidence to feed the current debate. Every year the report tackles one specific topic and provides new evidence to feed the current debate.
How should the OECD monitor ‘fragility’ in the coming years? In its States of Fragility Report 2015, the OECD put out an innovative working model building on five dimensions. That model is part of the OECD’s larger effort to move away from the ‘fragile states list’ - a binary view of the world - towards a universal concept of fragility. It builds on the recognition that fragility affects states and societies in different ways. It affects not only developing but potentially all countries. The model has been welcomed as an innovative and timely move towards a more nuanced understanding of fragility.
The OECD engaged in an extensive external consultation process between October and December 2015 to collect inputs for a revised concept – through workshops, guest blogs and by collecting individual feedback. These inputs serve to shape the fragility concept used in the States of Fragility 2016 report.
We also asked scholars and practitioners to join to the discussion through blogs which you can find here.
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