A New Approach to State Fragility

June 28

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

The British Academy,
London, UK





On June 28, CIFAR, the International Growth Centre, and the British Academy are convening thought leaders in government, the private sector, and civil society for a robust conversation about Escaping the Fragility Trap – the recent report of the LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development.



Estimates suggest that by 2030, half of the world’s poor will live in countries that are fragile. This report argues a new global approach to state fragility and international aid is needed for countries caught in the ‘fragility trap’.Through a panel discussion at the British Academy, Commissioners will share their findings and explore the implications.

Sir Timothy Besley (Commission Academic Director, Fellow of the British Academy and CIFAR Fellow, and Professor, London School of Economics) will give opening remarks.

Panelists include:

  • Sir Paul Collier (Commission Academic Director), Fellow of the British Academy, Professor, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford
  • James Fearon (Commissioner), CIFAR Senior Fellow; Professor, Stanford University
  • Rachel Glennerster, Chief Economist, UK Department for International Development
  • Adnan Khan (Commission  Co-chair), Research and Policy Director, International Growth Centre; Professor,  London School of Economics  
  • Roger Myerson, CIFAR Advisor; Professor, University of Chicago

This event is organized by CIFAR, the International Growth Centre and the British Academy.

The LSE-Oxford Fragility Commission was established under the auspices of the IGC in March 2017 to guide policy to address state fragility. It is chaired by former Prime Minister of the UK David Cameron. Commission members from CIFAR’s international research network include Sir Timothy Besley (Academic Director) and James Fearon (Commissioner), both fellows of CIFAR’s program Institutions, Organizations & Growth. Tim Besley is also a Fellow of the British Academy.



Tim Besley
CIFAR Senior Fellow
Institutions, Organizations & Growth

Paul Collier

Paul Collier
Professor of Economics and Public Policy 
University of Oxford, Blavatnik School of Government


Rachel Glennerster
Chief Economist
UK Department for International Development


Adnan Khan
Research and Policy Director
International Growth Centre


Roger B. Myerson
Institutions, Organizations & Growth

Event Report

On June 28, 2018, CIFAR, the International Growth Centre, and the British Academy convened thought leaders in government, the private sector, and civil society for a robust conversation about Escaping the Fragility Trap – the 2018 report of the LSE-Oxford Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development. This report summarizes the key discussion points from the event.

Introduction to the commission and report – Dr. Adnan Khan

  • We have witnessed a profound policy failure regarding state fragility over the past few decades. People living in fragile states are in peril; the path out of fragility is too important for global actors to neglect. However, established approaches have not worked. There has been a huge gap between the rhetoric of ‘ownership not donorship’ and the reality of a limited government struggling to deliver donor-imposed stringent policy conditions.
  • Each state facing fragility must forge its own path out of the fragility trap. No country has lifted itself out of poverty based on the vision of external actors. They have done it themselves – often with external support, but never under the control of others. Analytical frameworks, evidence and external actors can all help, but the struggle has to be owned by domestic actors. Sovereignty must be restored to where it belongs: the people and policy actors in fragile states.
  • The Commission’s report is distinctive in its framework and its boldness. The Commission gathered a group of top academics and practitioners and undertook country studies, open evidence sessions, and frank discussions. Past reports on the subject are often filtered to the point that they lack innovative, substantive or bold ideas. The Commission’s report is distinct in its analytical framework and its break with strategies of the past.
Read the full report

Download the PDF

Download the event slides 

In partnership with: British Academy LSE-partner-logos-revised-1-700x189  
 Supported by:  Crabtree Foundation