Map of the world’s conflicts in 2012

Sometimes you are forgetful. This applies to a blog as well. I should have posted this as soon as it was done, but nobody is perfect.

Please find a map detailing the world’s armed conflict in 2012 below! (click to enlarge)




Videos, photos and social media in UCDP data (a reply to Will Moore)

Will Moore posted and interesting post at yesterday, and simultaneously tweeted a question to the UCDP that read: ”Do we try to bring citizen images/video into our data collection?”

The post concerned how certain news companies and human rights groups have made it a skill to analyze and verify video and stills from abuses and fighting in conflicts, and also how social media can be a good source to confirm details on the ground. In the social media age there are certainly lots and lots of video, stills and witness statements flying around that could be used in collecting the type of data that the UCDP is interested in.

But, the answer to Will’s question is “we kind of already do”. The ambiguity in this answer has to do with the fact that the UCDP, in its coding, to a certain extent relies on videos and stills at least, although mainly indirectly. We don’t have the resources to monitor all stills and videos that are out there to confirm actors, deaths or locations for our data. We do, however, rely on such data indirectly and we do at times analyze videos and stills for geographic, actor, contextual or other information.

When I say indirectly I mean that when approaching a source based a lot on videos or stills we would not have our coders delve into that material and attempt to code it. We would also not make use of that source in an indirect manner until we are clear about who the sender is, what its bias is and how reliable the information appears to be. If, after a review, such a source appears to be reliable we would tap it for as much information as possible. So, such data will enter our collection, but we would not interpret it ourselves to any great degree. And in the past couple of years the availability of such sites and such data have increased greatly, as is perhaps most visible on the sites that monitor casualties in the Syrian conflict. It is a never-ending parade of stills and vids of dead people (you literally see dead people).

We do approach vids and stills and use other ‘new’ technology when coding though. Perhaps the most important use is to attempt to verify large-scale or significant massacres, but rarely is their good footage of these events as they happen. More common is to use vids and stills to get a feel for context. We used this method widely when considering if the clashes in Thailand a few years back – between the government and the Reds and Blacks – should be included as an armed conflict. There were many videos and great stills of these clashes, which we used to try to understand the conflict dynamics and how the more violent Blacks would stand in front of Reds and attempt to induce violence from the government (or protect the Reds from government violence from another point of view, see picture below). We’ve done the same in other cases, such as in Sri Lanka and in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Visualization can be important for context. But again, this is not in the SOP’s that we use.




More common use of ‘new’ technology is the extensive use we make of Google Earth in georeferencing. Whilst not the greatest tool on Earth for such activities it has a few important uses for countries that are not well covered in gazetteers or other geodatabases. It has been a handy tool in pinpointing the exact locations of bridges, river crossings, islands, minute and isolated villages and many obscure locations. I remember using it a lot when geocoding Libya, through pinpointing remote airfields and crossroads that would otherwise have been impossible to find.

So, to sum up, we almost solely use vids and stills indirectly, through making use of other’s work (which we feel is ok, since so many make use of our final products for free) in interpreting and evaluating these sources. Should we use it more? Currently we lack those types of resources, as coding fatalities globally every year through our present method swallows all available resources (and more). However, we would gladly welcome global projects such as the ones mentioned in the post; they would make our job easier and more reliable.


UCDP in Almedalen, 1/7 2013

The UCDP, represented by its Director Peter Wallensteen (Dag Hammarskjöld Professor of Peace and Conflict Research 1985-2012, and Richard G. Starmann Sr. Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame), will be attending this year’s Almedalsveckan in Visby, Gotland.

Professor Wallensteen will be presenting the UCDP’s latest data on international trends in armed conflict, introduce the UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia to the general public, as well as participate in a panel debate on the topic of ‘What can Sweden do to prevent armed conflicts in the world?’

Other participants in this debate include:

Yves Daccord, Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

Katarina Engberg, security policy expert at the Ministry of Defense

Allan Widman, member of parliament

Anna-Lena Sörenson, member of parliament

Date: 1/7 2013

Place: Uppsala university, Campus Gotland, Cramérgatan 3 (Studentcentrum)

URL for the event:;jsessionid=9B1885922FBB96FA0E379ACEFBC55F0F

UCDP Seminar Series: Ethics, Laws and Drones

It is our great pleasure to welcome you to the UCDP Seminar Series “Ethics, Laws & Drones” with Professor David Cortright, Director of Policy Studies at University of Notre Dame.


The event takes place May 22 in Lecture hall 2 at 13.15. Please find the invitation attached to this email.


Marcus Nilsson


Event Manager

Uppsala Conflict Data Program

UCDP Seminar Series: “New Wars, Old Wars, and the Critics”

The UCDP is delighted to welcome you to attend a seminar entitled “New Wars,
Old Wars and the Critics”. Our guest this time is Prof. Mary Kaldor,
accompanied by PhD candidate Anouk S. Rigterink. Magnus Öberg and Jonathan
hall, co-authors (together with Erik Melander) of “The ‘New Wars’ Debate
Revisited: An Empirical Evaluation of the Atrociousness of ‘New Wars'”
(Uppsala Peace Research Paper #9, 2006) will also be present for the

Date: Wednesday 20 February, 2013
Time: 15.00-16.15
Place: Lecture hall 2, Gamla torget

If you want to read up ahead of the seminar we recommend the Melander, Öberg
& Hall (2006) paper, as well as  Kaldor’s (2012)
“New and old wars: organized violence in a global era”, Polity Press.

Noted: New publication from the Department using UCDP data

Lisa Hultman (2013) “UN Peacekeeping and Protection of Civilians: Cheap Talk or Norm Implementation?”, Journal of Peace Research 50(1): 59-73.



“Protection of civilians is now at the forefront of the responsibilities of the international community. There is a strong international norm that civilian populations should be protected from violence. But how committed is the United Nations to acting in line with this norm? I argue that the UN Security Council (UNSC) has an interest in demonstrating that it takes violence against civilians seriously. Through a broadened security agenda including human security, the legitimacy and the credibility of the UNSC hinges on its ability to act as a guarantor of civilian protection. As a consequence, the UN is more likely to deploy peace operations in conflicts where the warring parties target the civilian population. The argument is supported by a statistical examination of all internal armed conflicts in 1989–2006. The results show that the likelihood of a UN peace operation is higher in conflicts with high levels of violence against civilians, but this effect is mainly visible after 1999. This year marked a shift in the global security agenda and it was also when the UNSC first issued an explicit mandate to protect civilians. Conflicts with high levels of violence against civilians are also more likely to get operations with robust mandates. This suggests that the UNSC is not just paying lip service to the protection norm, but that it actually acts to implement it.”

Noted: Recent publications from the Department using UCDP data

Recent publications from the Department of Peace and Conflict Research using UCDP data:


– Svensson, Isak, Ending Holy Wars: religion and conflict resolution in civil wars, (University of Queensland Press, 2012)

– Fjelde, Hanne & Nina von Uexkull (2012) “Climate triggers: Rainfall anomalies, vulnerability and communal conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa”, Political Geography 31(7): 444-453.

– Nilsson, Marcus (2012): “Reaping What Was Sown: Conflict outcome and post-civil war democratisation”, Cooperation & Conflict, 47(3): 350-367.

– Johan Brosché and Emma Elfversson (2012) “Communal conflict, civil war, and the state: Complexities, connections, and the case of Sudan” African Journal on Conflict Resolution Volume 12 No 1.

– Kreutz, Joakim. 2012. “From Tremors to Talks: Do Natural Disasters Produce Ripe Moments for Resolving Separatist Conflicts?” International Interactions 38(4):482-502.