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The Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) has recorded ongoing violent conflicts since the 1970s. The data provided is one of the most accurate and well-used data-sources on global armed conflicts and its definition of armed conflict is becoming a standard in how conflicts are systematically defined and studied.

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Definition of Armed Conflict

An armed conflict is a contested incompatibility which concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed force between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state, results in at least 25 battle-related deaths.

The definition has been published in Appendix 2 in our articles in Journal of Peace Research 1993–2014, for instance, in Wallensteen, Peter & Margareta Sollenberg, 2001. ’Armed Conflict 1989–2000’, Journal of Peace Research 38(5): 629–644.

The separate elements of the definition are operationalised as follows:

(1) Use of armed force: use of arms in order to promote the parties’ general position in the conflict, resulting in deaths. Arms: any material means, e.g. manufactured weapons but also sticks, stones, fire, water, etc.

(2) 25 deaths: a minimum of 25 battle-related deaths per year and per incompatibility.

(3) Party: a government of a state or any opposition organisation or alliance of opposition organisations.

(3.1) Government: the party controlling the capital of the state.
(3.2) Opposition organisation: any non-governmental group of people having announced a name for their group and using armed force.

(4) State: a state is

(4.1) an internationally recognized sovereign government controlling a specified territory, or
(4.2) an internationally unrecognised government controlling a specified territory whose sovereignty is not disputed by another internationally recognised sovereign government previously controlling the same territory.

(5) Incompatibility concerning government and/or territory the incompatibility, as stated by the parties, must concern government and/or territory.

(5.1) Incompatibility: the stated generally incompatible positions.
(5.2) Incompatibility concerning government: incompatibility concerning type of political system, the replacement of the central government or the change of its composition.
(5.3) Incompatibility concerning territory: incompatibility concerning the status of a territory, e.g. the change of the state in control of a certain territory (interstate conflict), secession or autonomy (intrastate conflict).



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Latest News

The UCDP’s latest data on armed conflicts in 2013 now released

The data on armed conflicts 1946-2013 will be presented in an article by Lotta Themnér and Peter Wallensteen in the July issue of Journal of Peace Research (JPR).

Press release (in Swedish)

Press release (in English)

UCDP/PRIO Armed Conflict Dataset v.4-2014, 1946 – 2013

UCDP Dyadic Dataset v. 1-2014, 1946 - 2013

UCDP Battle-Related Deaths Dataset v.5-2014, 1989-2013


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