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.
Tracking Conflict-Related Deaths – A Preliminary Overview of Monitoring Systems aims to contribute to the development of a standardized methodology for tracking the number of people who are killed in armed conflict. This, in the context of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of which Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 16.1 specifies to ‘[s]ignificantly reduce all forms of violence and related deaths everywhere’.
In September 2015 world leaders will meet at the UN to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),which will be the international development framework that will replace the current Millennium Development Goals. The seventeen proposed goals and associated targets are planned to run until 2030. Among them, Goal 16 focuses on peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice, and accountable institutions.
On average, armed violence kills 526,000 people each year.
On average, an estimated 526,000 people died violently each year in 2004–09. This figure includes an estimated 55,000 direct conflict deaths, 396,000 intentional homicides, 54,000 ‘unintentional’ homicides, and 21,000 killings during legal interventions. Far more people died violently in non-conflict settings than were killed in conflicts.
The number of violent deaths is frequently used as a proxy for measuring armed violence, because killings are likely to be recorded more systematically than other crimes.
In March of 2003, military forces primarily from the United States and United Kingdom invaded Iraq and little population-based health data has been available since. This study compares mortality during the period of 14.6 months before the invasion with the 17.8 months that followed and assesses the change in causes of death over that period.
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Sound and timely gender-relevant data is key for adequately and comprehensively addressing armed violence. Global databases have the potential to highlight relevant gendered dynamics, but currently lack crucial information related to the sex and gender of victims as well as the context of the violent events monitored. Gender Counts: Assessing Global Armed Violence Datasets, a Briefing Paper from the Small Arms Survey, highlights these knowledge gaps and indicates ways towards filling them.
UN peace operations are uniquely positioned—and mandated—to collect and monitor data on conflict-related casualties. Through the collection and analysis of this type of data, UN missions can both improve the effectiveness of peace operations and assist the international effort among UN Member States to achieve progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16—particularly Indicator 16.1.2 on conflict-related deaths.