Since the end of the Cold War, several global trends have emerged. First, conflicts between two or more States have substantially decreased. However, conflicts involving non-State entities – militias, armed groups, criminals, or terrorists – have been on the rise.
Furthermore, though the number of high intensity conflicts has diminished since 1991, there has been clear growth over the past four years. According to the Heidelberg Institute, there were 45 such conflicts in 2013 alone. Low and medium intensity conflicts have also augmented; but in a more constant and substantial manner. The Heidelberg Institute identified 414 conflicts – of all intensities – in 2013, whereas they had only counted 404 in 2012, 281 at the end of the Cold War in 1991, and 83 at the end of the Second World War in 1945.
Observing the increase in conflicts, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, President of the International Crisis Group (ICG), states that we must “invest in conflict prevention”, which would cost less, both in human and financial terms, than certain post-conflict efforts. For 2015, the ICG has listed 10 conflicts that require close monitoring: Syria/Iraq, Ukraine, South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and Venezuela.