The American magazine Foreign Policy and the Washington, DC-based Fund for Peace
released their second-annual Failed States Index on May 2, which, for the first time,
included a ranking for Cambodia.
The Kingdom was tied with the Dominican Republic for 47th place on the Index, a ranking
which measures the risk of violent conflict or other potential forms of state collapse,
rather than actual failure. Countries ranked from 41 to 60 are considered "borderline".
The top 60 countries on the list of 148 states surveyed are considered the most vulnerable,
with Sudan ranked first, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory
Coast, Iraq, Zimbabwe, and Chad.
Cambodia is considered better off than many of its Asian neighbors, including Pakistan
(9), Afghanistan (10), North Korea (14), Burma (18), Bangladesh (19), Nepal (20),
Sri Lanka (25), Kirgizstan (28) Indonesia (32), Bhutan (39), Laos (39), Tajikistan
(42), and Turkmenistan (45).
According to Foreign Policy, the Index "provides snapshots of state vulnerability
or risk of violence during a window of time." Software is used to scan tens
of thousands of "open-source articles". Data is also drawn from public
documents, US State Department reports, independent studies and corporate financial
The time frame for this year's survey was May to December 2005, so in Cambodia's
case it would not include the January release of political activists, the so-called
reconciliation between the CPP and the Sam Rainsy Party and Prime Minister Hun Sen's
about-face on the defamation law.