New data allows for unique conflict research

Dec 08, 2011

Which factors increase the risk for armed conflict and war? What circumstances make conflict resolution more likely to be successful? If work for peace is to bear fruit; these questions needs to be answered. Today, the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) releases a new dataset which opens up new possibilities for the study of armed conflict. Using these data, useful findings relating to climate change and armed conflict have already been made.

Existing data on armed conflicts cover only individual countries or provide information only on a yearly basis. This has limited the to which the data can be used. One example is that such data do not permit studies of local issues of . For this reason and conflict researchers have in recent years realized the necessity for more detailed data on armed conflict.

The dataset which is released today covers all armed conflicts in Africa from 1989 through 2010 and contains information on the precise date and place of individual instances (events) of armed . This allows for new research on the causes, dynamics, and resolution of armed conflict. Further, patterns and the geographic developments of conflicts can be analyzed using software for geographic information systems (GIS).

- This will change conflict studies in a very exciting way, says Peter Wallensteen, Dag Hammarskjöld professor of peace and conflict research and leader of UCDP.

Initial studies have already contributed with interesting findings; such as the targeting of civilians in intrastate conflicts and the relationship between and armed conflict. Combining the dataset with meteorological and economic data, the Uppsala-based researchers Dr. Hanne Fjelde and Nina von Uexkull have found that variation in rain fall increases the risk of armed conflict between societal groups. This risk is further increased in poor areas which are more vulnerable to changes of their environment.

- Since the weather, just as armed conflict, often affects different parts of a country in differing ways, we would not have been able to perform our study without this new, detailed, information, says Nina von Uexkull, PhD candidate at the Department for Peace and Conflict research at Uppsala University.

In another study on the topic of climate change and conflict Associate Professor Erik Melander and Ralph Sundberg show that a combination of high population density and soil degradation increases the risk of violence between non-state actors. This is alarming as climate change may increase the risk that this lethal combination – population density and degrading soils – will spread around the globe. Besides research on climate and conflict, a study by Dr. Hanne Fjelde and Dr. Lisa Hultman reveals that violence against civilians, in ethnic conflict, is most often perpetrated in areas where the opposition side is numerically strong.

Fact box: The dataset (UCDP GED) is the outcome of approximately 2.5 years of work, engaging some 15 researchers and assistants. It contains information on some 24 000 unique events and includes all three types of (state-based, non-state, and one-sided violence) on the African continent between 1989 and 2010. This dataset is compatible with a number of software utilities for statistical analysis and GIS software.

Explore further: Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Number of conflicts in the world no longer declining

Dec 21, 2007

The trend toward fewer conflicts reported by peace researchers since the early 1990s now seems to have been broken. This is shown in the latest annual report “States in Armed Conflict,” from the Uppsala Conflict Data ...

Why rebel groups attack civilians

May 29, 2008

In civil war, rebel groups often target civilians despite the fact that their actual target is the government and that they are often dependent on the support of the civilian groups they attack. This may seem illogical, but ...

Why Are There Wars Without End

Oct 06, 2006

Even as events took place in September recognizing this year's International Day of Peace, most people would concede that some conflicts seem impossible to resolve. Indeed, of the twenty major armed conflicts waged around ...

Environmental exodus

Nov 26, 2007

Climate change is the largest environmental change expected this century. It is likely to intensify droughts, storms and floods, which will undoubtedly lead to environmental migrations and potential conflicts in the areas ...

Recommended for you

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

7 hours ago

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

10 hours ago

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

22 hours ago

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...