WILLEMSTAD - The Think To Do Institute, the locally based, international think tank, has conducted the Fragile States Index for Curacao. Since its inception, the Think To DO Institute has been dedicated to the qualities of resilient nations. It is in this context; the institute has been doing research on various topics that influence resiliency. As part of this effort, the think tank embarked last year on an exercise to assess the fragility of Curacao. One of the international instruments used is the Fragile States Index, an assessment tool of the Fund for Peace, used to measure fragility in over 120 nations. After months of data collection and in-depth analysis, the Fragile States Report for Curacao will be released soon. Before releasing the report, the institute reports important information about resilient and fragile countries.
What is a resilient nation?
A nation’s resilience is its ability to respond to hazards. Resilience is measured by the nation’s ability to resist, absorb, accommodate, adapt to, transform, and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner.
Natural and human-induced disasters carry with them the potential for a myriad of possible consequences. From injuries and death, displacement of people, loss of property and land, disruptions in transportation, business interruption, job losses, and greater demands on government. Several examples of tests to Curacao’s resilience are its response to some of these consequences with the passing north of the island of Hurricane Thomas; and, more recently, the island’s response to COVID threats and consequences involving lives, livelihoods. In addition to these external threats are the nation’s internal factors such as an aging and maintenance backlog in infrastructure, poor public services, poor economic performance and disparities, an aging and declining population.
Additional external factors that demand greater resilience strategies are the complex and interdependent global commerce and economic systems, the changing power relations in the world, the shifting speed of technological development because of the 4th Industrial Revolution, and climate change. How a state responds to these threats demands greater resilience of the nation’s physical, social, cultural, economic, and environmental health.
The extent to which above is addressed, moves a state in the direction of what a resilient nation is all about. But to accomplish this and safeguard future generations requires an ability to anticipate, adapt and respond to the earlier mentioned factors, natural or man-made, short or long-term, local or global. To begin the process, the existing status quo must be determined before contemplating the necessary changes to accomplish this resiliency. The assessment of the countries vulnerabilities, or its fragility, if you will, is the first order of business before policy interventions are contemplated.
So, what are fragile states?
State fragility takes many different forms and goes under a variety of different labels. State fragility can be seen as a continuum on which countries and their government are differentiated and defined by their capacity or willingness to deliver on these public goods. These states have weak institutions or systems of public administration; poor economic performance and distribution of its gains; experience poor social cohesion and experience tensions; suffer from corruption; and have inadequate and deteriorating infrastructure and poor-quality public services, just to name some of their characteristics. An example of a full-blown fragile state is Somalia. An example of a resilient state is Finland.
What are the fundamental causes of state fragility?
Every state has its own complex history of internal and external influences, and any generalized explanation of fragility will necessarily omit some factors that are relevant and important to an individual case. State-building is a lengthy and difficult process for today’s developing states; it takes time to build a stable state. A historical perspective is required when considering the challenges facing newer states. As well, several other possible factors help to explain why some have been less effective than others. “Fragile states measurements” consider colonial legacy, geographical location, a lack of regional integration, border delineation conflicts, limited internal market because of size, and important barriers to effective development such as the policies pursued by the leaders and governments of fragile states. History is not destiny, and some states have made real development progress despite an unfavorable history and negative trends.
The Fragile States Index will give us data using an international instrument and international comparisons that can be used to determine resilience or fragility.
The Think To DO Institute is an independent, apolitical think tank located in Curaçao, Dutch Caribbean. The T2DI has as its purpose to help Curaçao become a more resilient society by producing research that is based in best practice, and which delivers practical solutions to the barriers that hold the community back from becoming more resilient. Research evidence shows that Resilient Societies are created by attention to people, to organizations, to place, and to knowledge. Resilient Societies design, redesign organizations, institutions and systems to better absorb disruption, operate under a wide variety of conditions, and shift more fluently from one circumstance to the next. For more information about the Think To DO Institute, visit the website: www.thinktodoinstitute.com