Closing the Sovereignty Gap: Making States

What makes a state and, perhaps more important, what defines failure? An index of state effectiveness might help to trigger timely assistance, and identify when intervention is necessary. The pressing need is for a new approach to state-building.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Only where there are stable and effective states can poverty and insecurity be dealt with in a sustainable manner. In fragile or failing states, destitution and marginalisation prevent citizens from taking part in economic and political life and large swathes of territory can fall under the control of militias.

Only functioning states can prevent territory being used for the creation and export of terror and insecurity. This has led to renewed international interest in state-building.

But what does make a state? A modern state must coherently perform ten key functions, in marked contrast to a focus on the security dimension in the nineteenth century. It should:

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.