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Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2020

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Strand, Håvard & Håvard Hegre (2021) Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2020, Conflict Trends, 3. Oslo: PRIO.

2020 provided ample evidence that conflict resolution is a long-term venture, as the year was dominated by many of the same conflicts that were present 30 years ago. A number of these conflicts can be traced to the demise of the Soviet Union, while another set of enduring conflicts are found across Africa. The Islamic State (IS) remains a global problem; it was involved in 16 conflicts in 2020.

Brief Points

  • There were 56 active conflicts recorded during the year, up from 55 in 2019.

  • The number of fatalities reported in 2020 dropped to under 50,000 for the first time since 2012.

  • Afghanistan remains the deadliest conflict, with about 40% of all casualties recorded in 2020.

  • There were eight wars active in 2020, up from seven in 2019 and six in 2018.

  • IS was involved in 16 conflicts in 2020. These conflicts account for 13% of all casualties.