The Global Conflict Risk Index and EU conflict Early Warning

The Global Conflict Risk Index (GCRI) estimates the risk of violent conflict in 140 countries over the next four years. The model defines conflict risk in terms of the probability and potential intensity of violent conflict (expressed in battle-related deaths), and combines these two measures in a total conflict risk score (derived by multiplying probability and intensity estimates).
The output of the GCRI serves as the quantitative foundation of the EU conflict Early Warning System (EWS). As part of the EWS, GCRI quantitative data are supplemented with qualitative inputs that offer additional insights on contemporary conflict risks and dynamics, drawing upon country-specific expertise and reporting.

To find out more about the EU conflict EWS and the EU’s work on conflict prevention, please visit EEAS’ website:
To view visualizations of the GCRI’s most recent results and of its input variables, click here (results) and here (input variables). For a user manual of how to explore and navigate these GCRI visualizations, visit the Help section of the Science 4 Peace Portal.

Data and methodology

The GCRI incorporates 22 variables representing structural risk factors of conflict. These variables fall into 6 categories: political, security, social, economy, geographical/environmental and demographic. The variables were chosen based on a comprehensive literature review and interviews with country and conflict experts and practitioners at the EEAS. A full list of the 22 input variables is available in the Appendix of the latest report on the GCRI’s methods and data (see last item in the Documentation section below).
The GCRI is trained on historical data from 1991 to the present, based on which it estimates conflict risk in the next four years. The model uses conflict data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), and distinguishes between three conflict categories:

  • State-based conflict (SBC): Armed conflict between a state government and at least one organized group. Fighting either revolves around central government power or over territory. The use of force results in at least 25 battle-related deaths in a calendar year.
  • Non-state conflict (NSC): Armed conflict between two groups, neither of which is directly affiliated with a state government. This includes conflict between rebel groups and militias, fighting between supporters of different political parties as well as conflict between ethnic, religious or other social groups. Fighting results in at least 25 battle-related deaths in a calendar year.
  • One-sided violence (OSV): Direct and deliberate killing of civilians, carried out either by a state government or a non-state armed group, resulting in at least 25 deaths in a calendar year.

The main GCRI output is a combined estimate of conflict risk for all 3 conflict types:

  • Any conflict (ANY): This category includes all instances of internal conflict that belong to the following categories: State-based conflict, Non-state conflict and One-sided violence. Total battle-related deaths exceed 25 in a calendar year.

The Joint Research Centre developed the GCRI in collaboration with the Conflict Prevention and Mediation Support Division within the EU External Action Service (EEAS), with funding from the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI). The JRC regularly updates the GCRI to enhance modelling techniques and the coverage of relevant structural risks in line with evolving knowledge and emerging trends.