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​What is a fragile state?

Anne-Lise Klausen's picture
Much like Tolstoy’s quip that each 'unhappy family is unhappy in its own way', a fragile state is fragile in its own way (see this paper, by the World Bank’s Michael Woolcock for more). Therefore, it is all too often unhelpful to reduce the definition of fragility to standardized, static lists or indicators – in so doing, we miss the complexities and nuances of fragility in some situations, and miss other fragile situations all together.

Bread, freedom and the WDR 2011 on Conflict, Security and Development

Merrell Tuck-Primdahl's picture

Which comes first in the wake of revolution, bread or freedom?

A Reuters reporter asked about this during the embargoed press briefing last Friday to launch the World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development. What she wondered about was the tough choices of what to deal with most urgently in the throes of revolutions like we are seeing in the Middle East and North Africa.

In other words, should policymakers pay urgent attention to, say, food, jobs and the flow of cash or do justice and political change take precedence?