Fragile states


How to use this guide

This guide can be read online using the links at the top of this page. Alternatively, the full guide can be downloaded as a PDF.

About this guide

This resource guide introduces some of the best literature on the causes, characteristics and impact of state fragility and the challenge of aid effectiveness and lessons learned from international engagement in these contexts. It highlights the major critical debates that are ongoing within the international development and academic community in relation to understanding and responding to fragile situations. It is intended primarily as a reference guide for policymakers. New publications and emerging issues are incorporated on a quarterly basis.

The guide was written by Claire Mcloughlin (GSDRC) in August 2009, in close collaboration with Professor Jo Beall (University of Cape Town) and Alina Rocha Menocal (Overseas Development Institute), and was last updated in March 2012. The GSDRC also appreciates the contributions made by Alex Stevens (DFID) and Frederick Golooba Mutebi (Institute of Social Research, Kampala). Comments, questions or documents can be sent to Claire Mcloughlin:

Supplements to this guide

Two supplements explore the links between statebuilding and peacebuilding:

These supplements were written by Huma Haider (GSDRC) in October 2010. The GSDRC appreciates the contributions of Alina Rocha Menochal (Overseas Development Institute); Alex Stevens (DFID) and Anna Miles (DFID).

Latest additions

The following document summaries were added to the Topic Guide on Fragile States in March 2012: