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Counting Conflict Deaths: Options for SDG 16.1

Briefing Note to Members of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators

Summary

Measuring global progress in achieving peace is impossible without some basic measure of the frequency and intensity of armed conflict, and the fundamental unit of armed conflict is the number of deaths arising over a period of time. Although this indicator alone is insufficient to convey the many different effects of conflict, it is the best option available.

This briefing argues that it should be central to monitoring Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on peace and its target 16.1  to “significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere”. The briefing is intended to assist the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators in developing an indicator to track the number of “conflict-related deaths per 100,000 people”.

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Date: October 2015
Author: Thomas Wheeler, Robert Muggah
Publisher: Igarapé Institute/Saferworld
Language: English
Region: International
Country: UN

Counting conflict deaths is a moral, legal and humanitarian imperative. While conceptually challenging, measuring the deaths arising from armed conflict is methodologically feasible.

Robert Muggah