The real-world Fragile States Index, applied to Sharfland
So doing some classwork the other day involved working with the Fragile States Index. I decided it would be fun to apply the criteria on the index to Sharfland (as below). Warning – wall of text alert.
My final score was 92 – ALERT
Social indicators (30)
- Demographic pressures: 8 Sharfland has a rapidly growing young population that is currently situated mainly in the countryside, where population density is low. Several areas have not yet recovered from the severe food insecurity of the war years. Droughts are becoming more common in the central steppe region and resilience of the rural population is being strongly tested. The federal government has minimal capacity to undertake Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) projects. Many rural youth are emigrating to cities, where employment opportunities and housing supplies are becoming strained. Local governments are not willing to invest in wide-scale housing and job creation in the urban centers.
- Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs): 7 Over 500,000 people remain internally displaced in Sharfland. Some camps, especially those around major cities, have existed for almost twenty years and have become semi-formalised. The government has embarked on efforts to return IDPs to their homes but housing shortages in urban Sharfland hinder efforts. IDPs form camps according to ethnic identity. The country is currently at capacity for effective IDP management and in the event of natural disaster or return to conflict would require extensive external assistance. Uirian refugees in eastern Sharfland have mostly returned home following the fall of the Oki Dar Kehmkan during the Sharfic Civil War. The remainder have integrated into Isfara and Poletarsk with relative ease.
- Group Grievance: 9 Constituent republics of the Sharfic Federation are demarcated along ethno-linguistic lines and the representatives of many constituent republics are outwardly supremacist. Many citizens of Sharfland feel stronger loyalty to republican or tribal identity than that of Sharfland. In mixed cities race riots and acts of ethnic violence against rival ethnic groups are common. Sports hooliganism is often a cover for communal violence. Local police forces are inadequately equipped or trained to deal with communal violence. In all major cities, public celebration of individuals accused of ethnic cleansing and genocide is commonplace. The Federal Government of Sharfland does little to quell group tensions save for deploying federal Gendarmes to suppress particularly heavy riots.
- Human flight and brain drain: 6 Large-scale brain drain/human flight has effectively ceased since the end of the civil war. Occasional flare-ups of communal violence can cause small-scale human flight. The Federal Government of Sharfland has attempted to put measures in place to halt further brain drain such as guaranteeing state jobs for graduates of certain degree programs. A number of countries no longer accept Sharfic nationals as conflict refugees.
Economic indicators (16)
- Uneven economic development: 9 Constituent republics of Sharfland often specify the superior position of their dominant tribal or ethnic group within their constitutions and legal frameworks. Minority groups and migrant workers are casually discriminated against by a number of levels of society. The ability of a migrant or minority individual to access employment and education is hindered by preferential hiring and admission practices by local employers and officials. Housing is often denied to migrants and minority individuals by landlords in favor of housing a tribal compatriot. Slums exist in a number of Sharfic cities and are overwhelmingly populated by ethnic minorities.
- Poverty and economic decline: 7 GDP has risen since the end of the war and the average Sharfic citizen enjoys a higher quality of life than the war years. Established diaspora communities continue to remit money to relatives in Sharfland, increasing their economic resilience. Legislative restrictions on business activity leads to a high rate of business failure. Constituent republics have the ability to set their own rates of taxation and are responsible for the payment of salaries in their own territory. Conscripts enrolled in national armies often go without salaries, especially in remote areas, and are used as a manual labour reserve.
Political indicators (46)
- State legitimacy: 9 Sharfic citizens directly elect several governmental representatives, who are purposely given duplicate work and tasked with supervising each other's work by federal authorities for the purpose of neutering local politics. Bribery is widespread, with services such as obtaining legal documents impossible without "facilitation payments". Offenders are rarely prosecuted save for extremely egregious cases. The Federal Government of Sharfland remains staffed by former combatants of the National Reconciliation Front, who have used the reconstruction process to acquire former state enterprises for token amounts. Allegations of government members pillaging ministry funds for personal use are widespread, undermining public trust. Transparency in Federal elections is minimal.
- Public services: 6 Public services were deeply degraded during the war years. Quiberonnais NGO Medecins du Crateé continue to maintain urgent care and emergency facilities in provincial capitals. Recent large-scale investments by Dumani and Questarian consortia have began the process of rehabilitating urban water and sanitation and public transportation infrastructure. Rural areas remain afflicted by severe lack of public services particularly in the areas of healthcare, education and energy. The government has stated its desire to rehabilitate or replace damaged infrastructure as quickly as possible. Security forces, particularly those under federal command remain prioritised in state budgets.
- Human rights and rule of law: 8 Press freedom remains mediocre. Many press outlets self-censor to escape potential government interference. The Press sector remains poorly regulated and numerous news sources of outspoken ethnic or political loyalty report poor quality and unsourced information. This is an intentional tactic by the federal government to reduce public trust in the press in the event that any unflattering article were to make it to the front page. Human rights are in general better observed since the war years, moreso in economic and cultural than political and civil rights. Religious expression is no longer prohibited. Freedom of assembly is applied patchily and police have the ability to disperse gatherings at will. Numerous secret police and state security services are active across Sharfland and frequently arrest and intimidate government critics.
- Security apparatus: 8 The monopoly on use of force is not held by any one institution. Constituent republics operate National Armies in a separate chain of command to the Federal Armed Forces, which are supplied with newer and more sophisticated equipment. The Presidential Guard brigade answers directly to the President and has been observed clashing with National Armies. Tribes often host their own retinues parallel to the National Armies, and have been accused of criminal activity such as narcotics trafficking. In more remote areas retinues of minority tribes have clashed with National Armies. A number of different secret police forces exist, with the Bureau of State Security again answering directly to the president. There is considerable rivalry between these institutions and a number of gun and bomb attacks within Vorga, Shiran and Kodonseng have been attributed to infighting between them.
- Factionalised elites: 9 Governing members of Constituent Republics often utilise aggressive, ethno-nationalist rhetoric during election periods. Many Republic Representatives remain wartime leaders and display outward loathing to leaders of opposing factions, with only those in the Federal Government safe from verbal attack. The effective dismemberment of government organs among Constituent Republics allows them to be staffed by individuals belonging to the same faction as Republic Representatives. Very little internal pressure prevents Constituent Republics from seceding from Sharfland. Many claim that only the military capability of the Federal Armed Forces prevents disintegration of the Sharfic Federation.
- External Intervention: 6 Dumani forces remain on Sharfic soil. The Federal government has leased a number of surplus airbases and barracks to the Dumani military, which conducts peacekeeping patrols in urban and rural areas distant from Vorga. Dumani corporations are involved in a number of Sharfic extractive businesses in what has been described as a predatory relationship. Foreign aid funding has largely dried up since the end of the civil war, but around $4 billion is still received annually from Wallasean and Arteran states for reconstruction purposes. Donor states do stipulate certain reforms, particularly in the security sector, in return for aid but this is largely ignored by federal officials. Sharfland is unable to meet its debt repayments and is currently in the process of rescheduling its debts. A new agreement will most likely involve closer oversight by donors of Sharfland's finances.