Fragile states are home to nearly 30 per cent of the world’s poor people. Though measures of fragility vary, such countries typically lack some of the basic tools of nation-building: good governance, strong policies, skilled personnel, functional infrastructure and services, educated citizens, an active civil society and a competitive private sector. Civil and border conflict is an all-too frequent reality. Poor people living in rural areas of fragile states are particularly vulnerable as they have very limited means to cope with the situation created by fragility.
Countries may be fragile in some respects and not others, and they may also move in and out of that condition. In this precarious environment, communities and families lack resilience, leaving them highly exposed to natural and human-caused disasters. The challenges of reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals are particularly daunting. The need to expand support and ensure that aid is effective in fragile states was highlighted in the Accra Agenda for Action.