Abstract: The gap between academic research and policymaking in international relations (IR) is much lamented but poorly understood. Much of what we know about the gap is based on personal anecdotes, untested assumptions, and simplistic conceptions of what counts as policy influence. Using the literature on fragile states as a window into the research-policy interface, this article finds little evidence of scholarship directly influencing policies through specific recommendations and findings. However, academic ideas in this field appear to have important indirect effects on international policy actors – namely, by helping to define and refine understandings of state fragility as a policy problem and by informing the development of operational frameworks for responding to this problem – even though the actors themselves may not be entirely aware of such conceptual influences.
Establishing it here would be a shrewd blend of public-spirited investment and self-interested capacity-building at home
In a few months, when Canada assumes leadership of the G8, we will have a unique opportunity as host and organizer of the 2010 summit to frame the agenda and propose new initiatives.
Why not use this chance to make a real contribution to helping fragile states in the developing world – countries unable to provide basic security and services to their citizens?
Stabilizing these countries, as the World Bank recently acknowledged, is one of the most pressing international security and development challenges. These states are especially prone to slipping into self-reinforcing cycles of internal conflict, economic collapse and humanitarian emergencies that too often destabilize regions. When fragile states collapse, they become inviting havens for transnational criminal and terrorist groups.
Canada could propose a G8 Centre On Fragile States that would bri...