“Fragility” is not a term typically applied to countries as dissimilar as North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Honduras. Yet each, much like Tolstoy’s unhappy family, is fragile in its own unique way. Saudi Arabia ranks poorly in our basket of legitimacy standards, which includes measures of gender equity, political representation, human rights and the rule of law, as well as others. North Korea, in contrast, is a poor performer in political and social development, and Honduras is plagued by internal turmoil, gang-related violence and other internal challenges to its authority structures. A more typical selection of high-ranking fragile states might include the likes of Pakistan, Somalia and Haiti, and indeed, these are countries that suffer from weaknesses in multiple areas of economic, political and social performance and do in fact score highly in most rankings of fragility. (In such rankings, a high score or placing means, of course, that a country is a poor performer.)

Engaging Fragile States Closing the Gap between Theory and Policy – Centre for World Dialogue