COVID-19 – together with deepening geopolitical tensions and the economic slow-down––is increasing the potential for social disorder, political violence and outright armed conflict. While the risks are growing, there are also important opportunities to prevent conflict onset through early diplomacy, peace agreements, deployment of peace support and smart, targeted investment in policing and justice reform.
A new report published by the Pathfinders – Forecasting the Dividends of Conflict Prevention –considers the trajectories of armed conflict in a 'business-as-usual' scenario between 2020-2030. If no action is taken, the study finds that there could be at least three more countries at war and nine more countries at high risk of war by 2030 as compared to 2020. This translates into roughly 677,250 conflict-related fatalities (civilian and battle-deaths) between the present and 2030.

Produced by an expert panel of social scientists, the study finds that investments in conflict prevention could generate significant dividends. The scenarios explored in the report are approximations, yet demonstrate concrete and defensible estimates of the costs of conflict and the benefits prevention in terms of fewer lives lost, less displacement, reduced spending on aid and peace-keeping and improved economic growth