Rethinking Engagement in Fragile States

Instability in fragile states is a frequent source of conflict and humanitarian crisis within countries, a driver of displacement and massive refugee flows, and often a threat to the stability and security of neighboring states. Economies in fragile states often underperform, their societies are divided, and their people suffer poor developmental and economic outcomes. Fragile states are home to nearly half the world’s population living in absolute poverty.

Over the past year, CSIS held a series of workshops and public meetings examining the challenges of fragility in four states categorized as fragile: Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, and South Sudan. The aim was to examine each of these cases individually and to better understand the opportunities—and limitations—of external intervention. This report offers common themes and recommendations for external engagement in such fragile states.

Richard Downie