Support the development of peace-supporting policies and broaden public understanding of conflict by:
- tracking the development, resolution and impact of armed conflict worldwide;
- compiling research into a comprehensive and coherent report, called the Armed Conflicts Report, distributed in Canada and abroad.
Armed Conflicts Report
The Armed Conflicts Report consists of two major components, both updated annually.
- A compilation of detailed descriptions of each conflict available exclusively on our website, updated annually.
- A poster printed for distribution to donors, at various conferences and events and in response to requests.
Please be advised that our ACR Country Reports are currently under construction, so if the pages look a little wonky to you, it’s not your computer – it’s us! Thank you.
Defining Armed Conflict
For the purposes of the annual Armed Conflicts Report, Project Ploughshares defines an armed conflict as:
a political conflict in which armed combat involves the armed forces of at least one state (or one or more armed factions seeking to gain control of all or part of the state), and in which at least 1,000 people have been killed by the fighting during the course of the conflict.
An armed conflict is added to the annual list of current armed conflicts in the year in which the death toll reaches the threshold of 1,000, but the starting date of the armed conflict is shown as the year in which the first combat deaths included in the count of 1,000 or more occurred.
The definition of “political conflict” becomes more difficult as the trend in current intrastate armed conflicts increasingly obscures the distinction between political and criminal violence.
In a growing number of armed conflicts, armed bands, militia or factions engage in criminal activity (e.g., theft, looting, extortion) in order to fund their political/military campaigns, but frequently also for the personal enrichment of the leadership and the general livelihood of the fighting forces.
Thus, in some circumstances, while the disintegrating order reflects the social chaos borne of state failure, the resulting violence or armed combat are not necessarily guided by a
political program or a set of politically motivated or defined military objectives.
However, these trends are part of the changing character of war, and conflicts characterized more by social chaos than political/military competition are thus included in the tabulation of current armed conflicts.
In many contemporary armed conflicts the fighting is intermittent and involves a very wide range of levels of intensity.
An armed conflict is deemed to have ended if:
- there has been a formal ceasefire or peace agreement and, following which, there are no longer combat deaths (or at least fewer than 25 per year); or
- in the absence of a formal ceasefire, a conflict is deemed to have ended after two years of dormancy (in which fewer than 25 combat deaths per year have occurred).
The above definition builds upon, but differs in some aspects from, the definitions of other groups producing annual conflict tabulations, notably reports by Peter Wallensteen and Margareta Sollenberg of the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University (Sweden), published annually in the yearbook of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
photos: Siegfried Modola/IRIN (top and bottom image); Martine Perret/UN
Recent Posts on Armed Conflicts
Canada’s future role in UN peace operationsFebruary 13, 2019
It has been almost three decades since Canada was among the leading contributors of troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions. In late 2017, the government announced Canada’s return to peace operations and, in March 2018, Canada deployed an Air Task Force to the UN mission in Mali. With the one-year period allotted for the Canadian mission coming to an end ...
Blurring the lines: Virtual, mixed reality and the future of warfareOctober 24, 2018
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Public events: On women, peace, security and South Sudan
Monday November 27 in Waterloo, Ontario 10:00 a.m. to noon Round Table: Women, Peace and Security: The Case of South Sudan Location: Boardroom • Balsillie School of International Affairs • 67 Erb Street West 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Welcome to the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement (CPA) Location: Grebel Gallery • Conrad Grebel University College • 140 Westmount ...