Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2018

Originally published
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Strand, Håvard; Siri Aas Rustad; Henrik Urdal & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2019) Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2018, Conflict Trends, 3. Oslo: PRIO.

The number of armed conflicts in 2018 was slightly higher than 2017 and much higher than ten years ago, but the number of fatalities occurring in these conflicts was below average for the post–Cold War period. A key issue remains internationalized conflicts – civil wars with external parties involved – where a majority of fatalities in 2018 has been recorded.

Brief Points

  • The number of state-based armed conflicts in the world increased slightly from 50 in 2017 to 52 in 2018, with the Islamic State active in 12 of them.

  • There was a significant decline in conflict casualties in 2018, with 23% fewer casualties compared with 2017, and 49% fewer than 2014.

  • Afghanistan is again the deadliest conflict region in the world; 48% of all casualties in state-based conflicts in 2018 were in Afghanistan.

  • Internationalized conflicts and nonstate conflicts continue to represent major threats to reductions in violence.

  • There were six wars in 2018, down from 10 in 2017