Fragile states are a broadly understood concept, within which one may include a variety of related terms including, but not limited to: weak states, failing and failed states, collapsed states, difficult partners, difficult environments, and Low Income Countries Under Stress (LICUS).1 Fragile states lack the functional authority to provide basic security within their borders, the institutional capacity to provide basic social needs for their populations, and/or the political legitimacy to effectively represent their citizens at home and abroad. Although considerable research and resources have been devoted to fragile states in the last two decades, a lack of time series data on state fragility has prevented researchers from examining why certain countries remain trapped in fragility for extended periods of time, while others move in and out of fragility, or yet still, why some countries exit fragility and are now emergent or stabilized. This article will tackle this issue by examining case studies of three types of fragile states.

Transition Fragile States: Fletcher Forum