Sie sind hier: Armed Violence / Conflict Armed Violence / Broader Impacts of Armed Conflict
23.9.2017 : 18:16 : +0200

Broader Impacts of Armed Conflict

The real human cost of armed conflict goes beyond the numbers of soldiers and civilians that lose their lives in military operations but it also includes the victims of the consequences of war.  These also include those who die due to limited or inexistent access to basic health care, adequate food and shelter, and clean water (Global Burden of Armed Violence, p. 31). They are the so-called ‘indirect conflict deaths’.

Armed conflicts also have a destructive impact on the social, political and economic infrastructure of societies, limiting the provision of basic services, forcing migration flows, and exposing affected communities to risks of death and disease. These consequences last well beyond the cessation of hostilities. The human, social, and economic costs of armed violence and conflict adversely affect countries and societies, possibly for decades.

Under the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, Target 1 commits states to ‘[s]ignificantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere’. Progress in this direction will be measured—inter alia—using data on violent deaths in non-conflict settings (homicides, Indicator 16.1.1) and conflict-related deaths (Indicator 16.1.2, still to be finalized, but likely to focus mainly on the loss of life due to violence in conflict settings). But a wide range of stakeholders involved in crisis mitigation and prevention are calling for the comprehensive burden of conflict-related deaths to be captured, including deaths caused by, for example, starvation, lack of access to clean water, and decreased health care. This is also necessary to support the cross-cutting messages of Agenda 2030 and the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit; and, more specifically, a vision of sustained peace and conflict prevention like the one recently promoted by the UN Secretary-General.

Estimating the proportion of indirect victims of war has proven to be challenging. Many researchers have suggested methodologies to measure conflict-related deaths, but no validation mechanism has been developed to create consensus on which methods would best capture the entire range of the phenomenon. Evidence suggests that ‘[i]n the majority of conflicts since the early 1990s for which good data is available, the burden of indirect conflict deaths was between three and 15 times the number of direct deaths’ (Global Burden of Armed Violence, p. 32).

The proportion of direct and indirect victims tends to change throughout the phases of armed conflict depending on the intensity of conflict, its duration and on pre-existing conditions (for example the type and state of the public health infrastructure). This dynamic results in a larger number of direct victims at the outbreak and initial phases of armed conflict that it later outnumbered by those dying due to lack of services and exposure to disease. Furthermore, while military operations tend to burden to the largest extent the male population, the enhanced risks linked to the deterioration of social and physical conditions can impact other groups as well.

Future measures of ‘conflict related deaths’ should systematically disaggregate conflict mortality by cause, time, and affected demographic groups in order better to understand trends and the distribution of risks. In addition, causal chains leading to (violent and non-violent) conflict-related deaths should be further investigated, because this will likely identify further factors that should be considered when designing policy responses.

Small Arms Survey Publications

  • Beyond the Battlefield: Towards a Better Assessment of the Human Cost of Armed Conflict, by Erik Alda and Claire Mc Evoy. Briefing Paper, September 2017.

    Download (1.42 MB)
  • Tackling Violence against Women: From Knowledge to Practical Initiatives, by Jennifer Milliken with Elisabeth Gilgen and Jasna Lazaravic, published by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, June 2011. 

    Download
  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2008, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, September 2008.

    Download
  • Armed Violence Prevention and Reduction: A Challenge for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, by Keith Krause and Robert Muggah, June 2008

    Download
  • Armed and Aimless: Armed Groups, Guns, and Human Security in the ECOWAS Region, edited by Nicolas Florquin and Eric G. Berman, May 2005 (also available in French).

    More information
File 1 to 11 out of 11
First < Back Page 1 Next > Last

Other Publications

  • Human Security Report Project. 2010. Human Security Report 2009/2010: The Causes of Peace and the Shrinking Costs of War. New York: Oxford University Press.

    More information
  • Guha-Sapir, Debarati and Olivier Degomme. 2006. Counting the Deaths in Darfur, estimating mortality from multiple survey data. Households in Conflict Network Working Paper. Brighton: Households in Conflict Network.

    Download
  • Checchi, Francesco and Les Roberts. 2005. Interpreting and using mortality data in humanitarian emergencies: A primer for non-epidemiologists. Network Paper No. 52. London: Humanitarian Practice Network.

    Download
  • Mathers, Colin D., et al. 2005. Counting the Dead and What They Died From: An Assessment of the Global Status of Cause of Death Data. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Vol. 83, No. 3. March, pp. 171-180.

    Download
  • Human Security Centre. 2005. Human Security Report 2005: War and Peace in the 21st Century. New York: Oxford University Press.

    More information
  • Li, Quan and Ming Wen. 2005. The Immediate and Lingering Effects of Armed Conflict on Adult Mortality: A Time-Series Cross-National Analysis. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 42, No. 4. Pp. 471–492.

    More information
  • Ghobarah, Hazem, Paul Huth, and Bruce Russett. 2002. Civil Wars Kill and Maim People—Long After the Shooting Stops. Leitner Working Paper 2002-10. New Haven: Leitner Program.

    Download
File 1 to 7 out of 7
First < Back Page 1 Next > Last
 
Share this content
Share this content: