Beyond The Battlefield: Towards a Better Assessment of the Human Cost of Armed Conflict

Erik Alda and Claire Mc Evoy
Briefing Paper

Beyond the Battlefield: Towards a Better Assessment of the Human Cost of Armed Conflict, makes a case for stepping up efforts to measure and understand the entire range of conflict-related deaths, particularly among forcibly displaced populations.

Prevailing methods for measuring conflict deaths do not capture the total human cost of armed conflict. In the context of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, only one global indicator deals with conflict-related deaths. Various stakeholders have thus called for the monitoring of conflict deaths to go beyond battle deaths, specifically by covering indirect factors such as a lack of access to healthcare, food, and clean water. 

The Briefing Paper explores the opportunities provided by the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) framework and provides an overview of methods used to measure (indirect) conflict-related deaths. Finally, it discusses the importance of developing more nuanced, context-specific methods for estimating the relationship between direct and indirect conflict deaths.

Its findings are designed to inform work towards meeting Target 1 of SDG 16, which commits all UN member states to significantly reduce ‘all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere’. Specifically, the paper is intended to help shape the development of SDG Indicator 16.1.2, which will guide the measurement of conflict-related deaths.

Available in:  ENGLISH

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Keywords: GVD SDGs Conflict deaths Armed violence Violent deaths