LONDON - 2024’s Year of Elections May Fuel World’s Violent Conflicts

The harshest blows of conflict in 2024 will likely fall on the world’s countries that are already the worst hit by violence. In 2023, 97% of all political violence occurred in 50 countries, as ranked by The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) ACLED Conflict Index. In 2024, our new Conflict Watchlist suggests that many of these same conflicts — fueled by political competition, regional crises, and civil disputes — will catalyze more violence in several of these states.

The unprecedented number of elections this year could be a key driver of domestic violence and international spillover in 2024: they include planned races in Mexico, the United States, and Russia; contested election results in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and a new government taking office in Haiti. Perhaps most prominently, the outcome of the US general election alone could have serious knock-on effects on cartel violence in Mexico and the deadly conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine (and Yemen’s Houthis by extension). National and local elections in Mexico will likely catalyze armed groups’ targeting of election-related figures, elevating already extreme levels of violence.

In several regions of the world, violent contests for power present a long-term challenge to stability and threaten civilians caught in the crossfire. The decades-long insecurity in the Sahel is entering a new phase, as junta-driven state forces resort to more aggressive tactics. In Sudan, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) takeover in Darfur could further prolong the fighting, which has already displaced millions of people and led to thousands of reported fatalities since it began in April. Meanwhile, the struggle between military junta and a disjointed resistance front in Myanmar enters its third year of violent repression and attacks against civilians, but may be at a turning point as coordination among resistance groups builds momentum.

In ACLED’s new Conflict Watchlist, we identify 10 crisis areas that are likely to evolve in the coming year. The Watchlist goes beyond a snapshot of violent hotspots; these local, national, and transnational conflicts represent some of the most complex crises in the world.


- Palestine: An Uncertain Future for Gaza and the West Bank

- Yemen and the Red Sea: Rising Tensions Threaten Peace Process and International Security

- Sudan: Setting the Stage for a Long War

- The Sahel: A Deadly New Era in the Decades-Long Conflict

- Democratic Republic of Congo: Re-elected President Tshisekedi Faces Regional Crisis in the East

- Ukraine: A Deadly Stalemate with No End in Sight

- Myanmar: Resistance to the Military Junta Gains Momentum

- Haiti: Gangs and Vigilantes Thrive Amid Political Deadlock

- Mexico: Confronting Deadly Political and Criminal Power Struggles in an Election Year

- United States: Intensifying Polarization and the Looming Presidential Election


How much conflict is occurring in the world?

Conflict is now widespread and pervasive: 12% more conflict occurred in 2023 compared to 2022, and ACLED records an increase of over 40% compared to 2020. One in six people live in an actively conflicted area. In 234 countries and territories covered by ACLED, the majority — 168 — saw at least one incident of conflict in 2023. Over 147,000 conflict events are recorded, and at least 167,800 fatalities.

Conflicts differ in their intensity, frequency, and form. For that reason, comparing event numbers may distort comparisons. Drawing on the latest data and patterns, the 2024 update to the ACLED Conflict Index assesses levels of conflict according to four key indicators: deadliness, danger to civilians, geographic diffusion of conflict, and armed group fragmentation.

Countries are ranked within each of these four indicators, and those positions determine the overall ranking on the Index (see Methodology sidebar for more). A country’s place on the Index represents its conflict level compared to other countries.

Conflict rates exist on a spectrum, and some level of conflict occurs in almost every country. The highest levels are found in the 50 countries highlighted in the Index list. These countries are categorized as ‘extreme,’ ‘high,’ or ‘turbulent.’ These top 50 ranked countries account for 97% of all conflict events recorded for the past 12 months. The extremely violent countries account for 40% of all conflict.

For the full report, visit: