The workshop began with an introduction from David Carment to introduce the utility of fragility as an organizing concept for understanding entry points for prevention, particularly in the context of recommendations for policy making. He explained that CIFP has moved from classifying states according to degree of fragility alone, and now considers three characteristics of a state: authority, capacity and legitimacy. Authority refers to the ability of the state to enact binding legislation over its population and to provide the latter with a stable and safe environment. Legitimacy refers to the extent to which the governing regime enjoys public loyalty and support for legislation being passed and policies being implemented, along with international recognition of that support. Capacity refers to the power of a state to mobilize public resources for productive uses. CIFP research finds that states with low legitimacy scores do not typically show up on conventional lists of failed states, which tend to instead focus on states that experience conflict, challenges to authority and low capacity. Understanding that states become weak – and then fail because of low legitimacy and not just weak authority and capacity –will better inform our policies towards fragile states.
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New Tools, New Challenges Conflict Prevention Workshop