Promoting inclusive growth in fragile and conflict situations is now a key priority for development. Currently, 65 million people have fled their homes, becoming either internally displaced or refugees – the highest number since 1945. This is not due to one particular crisis, but reflects a widespread and persistent phenomenon: many states are fragile, and periodically some melt down into violent disorder.
Since around 1990 the absolute number of people in poverty has been falling, and for a quarter-century democracy has been spreading. But these global trends have not been sufficient to prevent fragility.
“We can’t tackle global poverty or, indeed, improve our own security at home, unless we address the challenges caused by state fragility. The Commission aims to generate innovative ideas to help tackle state fragility and state failure, and I am delighted to be working with such a talented team of people.” – David Cameron, Chair
Fragility is a distinctive phenomenon that calls for distinctive policy approaches. It has been under-researched, and what is known from research has not been used effectively. The goal of the LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development, established under the auspices of the IGC, is to:
- Guide policy to address state fragility by pointing to recent advances in research that policymakers and practitioners aren’t yet paying attention to, and
- Encourage new research by highlighting critical areas of knowledge missing about fragile and conflict situations.
The Commission is chaired by David Cameron. Donald Kaberuka and Adnan Khan (IGC/LSE) serve as co-chairs, and Tim Besley (LSE) and Paul Collier (Oxford) serve as its academic directors. Launched in March 2017, it will run until to June 2018 and draw on evidence given in sessions by policymakers, academics, business leaders, and other practitioners with expertise in fragile and conflict situations. Running throughout 2017, the evidence sessions covered the following five key dimensions of fragility:
- Building legitimate government
- Generating effective state capacity
- Promoting private sector development
- Establishing security and reducing conflict
- Building resilience to shocks
The Commission published its recommendations in its report Escaping the Fragility Trap in April 2018. It is sponsored by LSE and Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford, and funded from the LSE Knowledge Exchange and Impact (KEI) Fund and the British Academy’s Sustainable Development Programme through the Global Challenges Research Fund.
In 2019, the IGC launched its Reducing State Fragilities initiative to carry forward engagements started by the Commission.