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The 2011 Failed States Index

The 2011 Failed States Index | Development geography |

How can political stability and security be measured?  What constitutes effective governance?  Foreign Policy, in conjunction with the Fund for Peace, has created a statistical ranking to measure the lack of effective political institutions.  For the 4th year running, Somalia has been statistically measured as the most failed state on Earth. Chad and Sudan are respectively ranked as the 2nd and 3rd most failed states.The 12 metrics that are a part of this index are:

•Demographic Pressures 


•Illegitimate Govts.

•Brain Drain

•Public Services


•Group Grievances

•Human Rights

•Economic Decline

•Security Forces

•Factionalized Elites

•External Intervention

Via Seth Dixon
Don Brown Jr's comment, July 16, 2012 9:57 PM
The global fallout of the Arab revolutions may be largely determined by demographics and political stability. Unlike Somalia for example which is in total anarchy, the Arab Spring uprisings occurred in more stable but oppressive governments. So this brings up the question, can a failed state rescue itself?
Derek Ethier's comment, November 5, 2012 2:35 PM
Althought sub-Saharan Africa has 5 of the 10 most quickly developing countries, they still lag very far behind the rest of the world in quality of living. Somalia, Chad and Suda are the most failed states on Earth, in order. The governments are unable to protect/provide for their people, brain drains suck the great minds to more developed countries, income inequalities ravage the nations, basic human rights are denied and the economies are pathetic. Overall, it is a sad story as many of these African nations also suffer from drought, famine and massive food shortages.
Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, November 29, 2013 4:11 PM

 I wonder why it is difficult for states to be formed. I would think it would be great because the village people won’t be forced to make big decisions they can just hire someone to do it for them. But in the other hand there would be other people who will make it difficult for them and will ruin it for everyone else. Becoming a state can change there live. They should have approved to become a state.

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Understanding the Darfur Conflict

This is a short, but effective video to quickly explain the geographic factors that have led to such turmoil within the Darfur region.  For more in-depth resources, see:


Via Clovis C. Perry, Jr., Cassandra Medeiros, Seth Dixon
James Hobson's curator insight, October 30, 2014 9:45 AM

(Africa topic 5)

Darfur serves as an example of why the Sahel region is so prone to conflict. Though certain regions can be thought of as a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, the northern and southern peoples are both struggling to for sustainability in a climatologically unstable region undergoing desertification, which raises tensions over land use. With the transition zone slowly trending southward, those from the north claim they need access to resources such as water, whereas those in the south claim it to be their own land.

Through this conflict the issue of racism has been raised, forming 'walls' between central Africans and northern Arabs. This will only distract and distort from the main issue, making it more complex to solve in the end. This may very well be a contributing factor as to why peace talks and negotiations have so far yielded few results.

Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 16, 2014 10:59 PM

Like many conflicts covered in the United States little insight is given into the origin of the event and instead on the present and most importantly how it affects us. This video gives a good understanding of how this conflict came about as well as a look into how the area stands today. For such a tragic and horrific event it is really unfortunate that so many in the west know almost nothing about this conflict.

Wilmine Merlain's curator insight, December 18, 2014 12:10 PM

In a country like Sudan who's wealth lies in its oil production its evident that these different groups would have conflict with one another. I believe that the government has decided to side with the Arab merchants because if the ties Arab merchants may have with the Arab world, turning a blind eye towards the turmoil Africans are faced with. Though the land has since been separated since the start of the conflict between these two groups, there is still a problem that this newly formed independent. With an unstable government and still having to face the problems of its past, South Sudan and Sudan have a long way to go before the tension between the two is resolved.