States of Fragility 2015: Meeting Post-2015 Ambitions



This report offers a new tool for assessing fragility that is more comprehensive than the traditional single categorisation of “fragile states”, and recognises the diversity of risks and vulnerabilities that lead to fragility. It identifies countries the most vulnerable in five dimensions of risk and vulnerability linked to fragility, and asks how likely they are to achieve the UN Open Working Group’s post-2015 goals and targets in those five dimensions: 1) violence (peaceful societies); 2) access to justice for all; 3) effective, accountable and inclusive institutions; 4) economic foundations; 5) capacity to adapt to social, economic and environmental shocks and disasters.

Key findings:

  • Many fragile states and economies have made important strides toward reaching the MDGs, but as a group they have lagged behind other developing countries. Nearly two-thirds of those now considered fragile are expected to fail to meet the goal of halving poverty by 2015. Just one-fifth will halve infant mortality by 2015, and just over one-quarter will halve the number of people who do not have access to clean water. These trends point to a growing concentration of absolute poverty in fragile situations. The goal of eradicating poverty will remain beyond the reach of many countries unless concentrated efforts begin now to address fragility. If institution building and conflict reduction continue at their existing pace, by 2030 nearly half a billion people could remain below the USD 1.25/day poverty line.
  • While per capita official development assistance (ODA) to fragile situations has almost doubled since 2000, aid is distributed unevenly. Afghanistan and Iraq received significant flows in the MDG era – 22% of all ODA to fragile states and economies. Remittances, the largest aggregate flow to fragile states and economies, benefit a small number of middle-income countries with big diaspora populations. Only 6% of foreign direct investment (FDI) to developing countries in 2012 went to fragile situations, and it was concentrated in just ten resource-rich countries.
  • Aid budgets are still adapting to the Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs) endorsed in 2011 by conflict-affected and fragile countries, development partners and civil society. While there is no agreed framework for tracking aid to support the PSGs, a working model found that it remained low in 2012. Just 4% of ODA to fragile states and economies was allocated to the PSGs for legitimate politics, 2% for security and 3% for justice. Only UN peacekeeping (almost USD 8.5 billion per year) and ODA expenditures on security are tracked. A small portion of ODA, just 1.4% in 2012, is spent on security sector reform in fragile states.
  • Fragile states have untapped opportunities to pursue development. Capitalising on them will require national ownership, international commitment and innovation. Multi-sectoral efforts to reduce violence, build trust in government and improve the quality of public services will be key to achieving a post-2015 goal for peaceful and inclusive societies. Far greater international political will is needed to support nationally owned and led plans, build national institutions at a faster rate, and help countries to generate domestic revenues and attract private finance. To this end, donors must be more flexible and risk tolerant to on-budget aid modalities that build national institutions. The international community can also develop more demand-driven aid innovations that support domestic revenue generation, enable South-South and triangular co-operation, and make greater use of public finance instruments that help to attract FDI.



OECD (2015). States of Fragility 2015: Meeting Post-2015 Ambitions. Paris: OECD Publishing.