David Cameron to chair new LSE-Oxford fragility commission

Press Release State

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron will chair a new LSE-University of Oxford commission to guide policy on economic growth in fragile and conflict situations.

The commission will address fragile and conflict situations globally – where countries are failing, or are at risk of failing, with respect to political authority and legitimacy, and providing basic services such as health, education, security, and rule of law.

Violent disorder stemming from state fragility has led to the current migration crisis where 65 million people globally – including 11 million Syrians – have fled their homes, becoming either internally displaced or refugees, the highest number since 1945.

The commission will generate policy recommendations for governments, international donors, and NGOs to better support economic growth in countries facing fragility and conflict. It will focus on the underlying causes of state fragility and analyse an extensive evidence base to form its recommendations.

Part of this evidence will be given in five evidence sessions with policymakers, business leaders, academics, NGOs, and other stakeholders who have experience in fragile and conflict situations. It will also aim to encourage new research by highlighting critical areas of knowledge that are missing.

As chair of the Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development, Mr Cameron will build on his efforts to strengthen the UK’s leadership on international aid and development during his time as prime minister – including increasing UK aid spending to the UN target of 0.7% of gross national income, allocating 50% of the aid budget to fragile states and regions, and co-chairing the UN high-level panel that launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Along with Mr Cameron, the Commission will be co-chaired by Dr. Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank and currently the Special Envoy of the African Union Peace Fund, and Dr. Adnan Khan, Research and Policy Director of the International Growth Centre. Professors Tim Besley (LSE) and Paul Collier (Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government) will be the Commission’s academic directors. In addition, eight leading figures1 from the public sphere, academia, and the private sector will serve as commissioners. The Commission will be launched under the auspices of the International Growth Centre in March 2017 and run until June 2018.

“We can’t tackle global poverty or, indeed, improve our own security at home, unless we address the challenges caused by state fragility. How do we help support stronger economies and more effective governance in these countries? How do we help drive out corruption? How do we promote strong civil societies, the building blocks of democracy, and the rule of law?” Mr Cameron said. “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.”

“The ultimate aim of the SDGs is to leave no one behind. The global community’s ability to effectively address state capacity and legitimacy, and build resilience in many regions of the world where millions are trapped in fragile situations is fundamental. The fragility commission will seek to advance this critical agenda,” said Mr Kaberuka.

“Global poverty reduction and the spread of democracy in the past few decades have not been enough to prevent the human tragedies stemming from fragility,” said Professor Collier. “We need distinctive policy solutions to address fragility, and those solutions need to be backed by robust evidence.”

Notes to editors

In addition to the chairs and the academic directors, the following individuals will serve as commissioners:

  • Robin Burgess, Professor, LSE
  • James Fearon, Professor, Stanford University
  • Stephen Krasner, Professor, Stanford University
  • Nourah Mehyar, CEO, Nafith Logistics
  • Minouche Shafik, Deputy Governor for Markets and Banking, Bank of England – serving on commission as of June 2017
  • Babatunde Soyoye, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Helios Investment Partners
  • Jennifer Widner, Professor, Princeton University
  • Ngaire Woods, Dean, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

The International Growth Centre: 

The International Growth Centre (IGC) aims to promote sustainable growth in developing countries by providing demand-led policy advice based on frontier research. The IGC directs a global network of world-leading researchers and in-country teams in Africa and South Asia and works closely with partner governments to generate high quality research and policy advice on key growth challenges. It is based at the LSE and in partnership with the University of Oxford. Find out more:

The Blavatnik School of Government: 

Founded at the University of Oxford in 2010, the Blavatnik School of Government (BSG) exists to inspire and support better government and public policy around the world. The school teaches current and future public leaders through innovative programmes, conducts deep research into pressing issues facing policy makers around the world, and convenes leaders and experts to foster better public policy. With a strong global outlook, it combines insights from a range of academic disciplines and derives lessons from the public, private and third sectors. The School was made possible through a £75 million donation to the University of Oxford by American philanthropist Leonard Blavatnik. Find out more:

For more information contact:

Emilie Yam, IGC Policy Communications Manager, T: +44 (0) 203 486 2611, E: [email protected]

Sue Windebank, LSE Senior Press Officer, T: +44 (0) 2078 494 624, E: [email protected]

Giulia Biasibetti, Oxford-BSG Media and Communications Manager, E: [email protected]