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Retaining Legitimacy in Fragile States, id21 insights 66

State fragility can lead to devastating humanitarian crises: 3.9 million people died in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1998 and 2004 for example; at least 200,000 people have died in the current conflict in Darfur whilst as many as two million have been displaced.

This issue of id21 insights - a collection of articles summarising recent research on fragile states - asks how can interventions in fragile states (Afghanistan, Somalia, Indonesia and others) contribute effectively to securing peace and development?

James Putzel, Director of the Crisis States Research Centre at the LSE, argues that as international donor agencies and NGOs attempt to intervene in fragile states, they need to reject simplistic solutions and design appropriate policies that fit local realities.

Fragile states are also seen as potential sites of terrorist activity — as in Afghanistan under Taliban rule where the self-proclaimed perpetrators of the attack against the World Trade Centre on 11th September 2001 found refuge and a base for their activities.

Yet many fragile states have managed to avoid political violence and state collapse. In Tanzania or Zambia, for instance, despite deeply rooted poverty and repeated economic crises, political authority has remained intact and conflict has largely been managed peacefully.

This issue of id21 insights explores different dimensions of state fragility, sources of political legitimacy and strategic considerations for the donor community.

Louise Daniel | alfa
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