Wherever armed conflict erupts, its causes can almost always be traced back to weak or broken social contracts between government and its people. The U.S. Institute of Peace sees such “state fragility” as a complex issue that needs urgent attention. USIP strives to address the challenge of fragility through new approaches to conflict prevention and by strengthening resilience that promotes a sound social compact between the state and society. USIP has joined in convening the Fragility Study Group, a non-partisan initiative aimed at improving the U.S. government’s approach to reducing global fragility.

Featured Publications

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

Friday, February 16, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Susan Stigant; Aly Verjee

This week, a new proposal for a power sharing government was tabled at the ongoing Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) peace talks for South Sudan. An earlier, 2015 peace deal also contained a formula for power sharing; that arrangement failed and the civil war re-ignited a year later. Power sharing arrangements are appropriate if certain conditions are met, but not enough has been done to ensure the latest proposal will overcome the obstacles present in South Sudan, according to Susan Stigant, USIP’s director for Africa programs and Aly Verjee, a visiting expert at USIP and a former senior advisor to the IGAD mediation, who comment on the proposal and suggest how it could be improved.

Democracy & Governance; Fragility and Resilience; Global Policy

USAID in Afghanistan: Challenges and Successes

USAID in Afghanistan: Challenges and Successes

Thursday, December 21, 2017

By: William Hammink

For nearly sixteen years in Afghanistan, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has sought to deliver effective development results in a war zone. Its most extensive program since Vietnam, the effort has pushed the agency well beyond its traditional boundary of...

Fragility and Resilience

The Middle East: Divided, Dysfunctional

The Middle East: Divided, Dysfunctional

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

By: Garrett Nada

Even before President Donald Trump upended a core U.S. policy recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, late 2017 has been tumultuous in the Middle East. The Islamic State (ISIS) “caliphate” collapsed. Syria’s Assad regime all but won the six-year civil war, consolidating Iranian and Russian influence. Saudi Arabia purged...

Violent Extremism; Global Policy; Democracy & Governance; Fragility and Resilience

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Current Projects

Defense, Development and Diplomatic (“3D”) Learning from Complex Crisis

Defense, Development and Diplomatic (“3D”) Learning from Complex Crisis

Over the last decade, the U.S. government (USG) has undertaken efforts to prevent or mitigate crisis in some of the world’s most vulnerable regions. As a follow on to the tripartite Fragility Study Group, this project aims to learn from recent experience in specific complex crises where prevention and mitigation efforts by defense, development and diplomatic (3D) institutions may have had some success. Its goal is to develop corresponding programmatic and operational lessons that may help inform preparation of the workforce to be better able to succeed in today’s complex operating environments.

Civilian-Military Relations; Fragility and Resilience

Fragility Study Group

Fragility Study Group

The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan initiative, jointly convened by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP), the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), to improve the U.S. government’s approach to reducing global fragility. 

Fragility and Resilience; Global Policy

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