Failures in Somalia
Good Governance, Political Conflict

Twenty Years of Collapse and Counting: The Cost of Failure in Somalia

Author(s): John Norris, Bronwyn Bruton
Date: September 19, 2011
Publication Type: Research Report
Research Topics: Good Governance, Political Conflict

Overview:

This paper explores the staggeringly high costs of the crises response rather than the crises prevention approach by looking at the case of Somalia. The research tries to determine, using a variety of official and unofficial sources and some educated guesswork, a reasonable estimate of the financial cost of Somali's conflict since 1991. The paper is a strong attempt in determining the money spent on Somalia by the international community, regional actors, and the Somali diaspora, regardless of the specific intentions of spending and whether these expenditures were sensible and effective or not. However, the profound lack of reliable data and the enormous variance in the economic and political standing of Somalia’s regions made it more difficult to compile necessary information.

Key Findings:

  1. Failed states are rare but incredibly expensive and disruptive especially in the case of Somalia. Figures in this study make clear that the reverberations of a state unraveling are felt well beyond specific security concerns about counter terrorism and can play out in unforeseen way. 
  2. A surprisingly wide number of actors bear these costs because no one group of actors have 'owned the crisis'. 
  3. Somalia needs the right kind of aid with smarter interventions.
  4. Failed states need comprehensive and locally appropriate solutions.

Related Publications

The Collapse of Mozambique’s 2013 Peace Agreement and Why it Matters

The Collapse of Mozambique’s 2013 Peace Agreement and Why it Matters

Written by John Filitz on July 19, 2018

This discussion paper analyzes the structural and causal factors that led to the collapse of Mozambique’s landmark 1992 General Peace Agreement in October 2013 and why they matter for the country’s future stability.

Read more
Private Sector Role in Reporting

The Role of the Private Sector in Support of Reporting Under SDG 16

Written by Conor Seyle, Global Alliance for Reporting Progress on Promoting Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies on March 1, 2018

In Sustainable Development Goal 16, UN member states committed themselves to tracking and releasing information about the closely related issues of peace, justice, inclusion, and good governance.  Collecting good data about these issues is difficult

Read more

The Geography of Violence Against Civilians: Implications for Peace Enforcement

Written by Jay Benson on February 21, 2018

UN peacekeeping operations have evolved in recent years to include more robust missions that pursue peace enforcement in a way not previously seen.

Read more
cover of geography of violence against civilians

Policy Brief: Peace Enforcement and the Geography of Violence Against Civilians

Written by Jay Benson on February 21, 2018

Peace enforcement has become the subject of vigorous debate among both policy makers and academics working in the field of peace operations.

Read more

Governance for Peace

Written by Conor Seyle on December 12, 2017

Governance systems that contribute to stable peace are characterized by having inclusive means of operating, participatory systems that bring the governed into the process of decision making, systems for accountability that ensure transparent and

Read more
Threat of World War

THE ENDURING THREAT OF A LARGE INTERSTATE WAR

Written by Aaron Clauset on September 20, 2017

Since 1945, there have been relatively few large interstate wars, especially compared to the preceding 30 years. The implications of this pattern, sometimes called “the Long Peace,” remain highly controversial. Is this an enduring trend toward peace

Read more

Climate-Induced Migration and Instability: The Role of City Governments

Written by Ambika Chawla on June 5, 2017

Trends in urbanization and climate change are altering the nature of human settlements. As the number and impact of severe weather events increases, countries and cities are forced to cope.

Read more

Stable Seas: Somali Waters

Written by Curtis Bell, Ben Lawellin on May 1, 2017

This report shows how complex issues like illegal fishing, coastal violence, and human trafficking intersect to create a uniquely insecure maritime environment in Somali waters.

Read more

Pages