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New initiative measuring violent deaths worldwide

New initiative measuring violent deaths worldwide
Through the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 16.1, the world has committed to ‘significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere’ by 2030. SIPRI supports the SDGs.

SIPRI has set up a new initiative aimed at establishing the annual number of violent deaths worldwide. The Global Registry of Violent Deaths (GReVD) will count deaths caused by all forms of violence and display these in an open-source database, which will allow researchers, policymakers and the general public to track trends in violence at global, regional, national, provincial, city and municipal levels. 

The database will hold a single entry for every violent death, including time, location, perpetrator, victim and type of violence. The sources will be verifiable news reports of lethal events and processing will involve machine coding to handle the volume of entries, as well as human coding to ensure accuracy and consistency.

‘When SIPRI was created over 50 years ago, we set out to provide the basic data needed to understand the arms race and global insecurity,’ says Dan Smith, SIPRI Director. 

‘The data was not easily available and many people thought the task was impossible. But we did it. Today’s challenge is data on violent deaths. It will be difficult and we will do it,’ says Smith. 

GReVD has already brought together the main groups that monitor violent deaths, as well as leading big data labs. This will enable monitoring of progress on the world’s commitment to ‘significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere’ by 2030, as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—specifically SDG 16.

‘The actual number of violent deaths in the world is unknown and yet SDG 16 states that the number of violent deaths in the world must be reduced in order to achieve a peaceful and inclusive society,’ says Marie Dahllöf, Secretary General of the Swedish Postcode Foundation. ‘We are therefore very proud to support SIPRI in their work to create a register using new methods to accumulate data to present this figure.’ 

The first phase of the project is funded by the Swedish Postcode Foundation and the British Department for International Development.


About the Sustainable Development Goals

In September 2015, a new development agenda was enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals. With the aim of leaving no one behind, the 17 SDGs succeeded the work of the Millennium Development Goals as the world’s agenda for development for the next 15 years. SDG 16 aims to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

Watch the latest SIPRI Searchlight film, 'Towards Peace, Justice and Inclusive Governance by 2030', which identifies the need to devise ways to globally monitor progress towards SDG 16.