About ViEWS

The Violence Early-Warning System (ViEWS) is a publicly available, data-driven forecasting system. It generates monthly probabilistic assessments of the likelihood that fatal political violence will occur in each country and 55×55 km location throughout Africa – during each of the next 36 months.

ViEWS is directed by Håvard Hegre and based at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University and Peace Research Institute Oslo. 

Funding

ViEWS has been developed with funding from the European Research Council (adv. grant number 694640), Uppsala University, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA), the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).
UNHCR-logo
ESCWA-logo

Collaborations

ViEWS has an active interaction with a number of other projects, including  CLIMSECCAVE and  CROP at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), the  MISTRA Geopolitics Project at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the Lancet-SIGHT Commission, and – most importantly – the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP). 

Background

ViEWS started in January 2017 in response to the need of a systematic and uniform means to monitor locations at risk of conflict.

The problem

Every month, thousands of people are killed in large-scale political violence. These conflict are highly destructive – beyond the immediate mortality and morbidity, conflicts lead to profound long-term consequences that impede the realisation of sustainable development. They severely hinder growth and poverty reduction, and they have severe detrimental effects on public health with the adverse impacts felt for decades after the shooting stops. Conflict is ‘development in reverse’.  Preventing and containing armed conflict is consequently high on policy-makers’ agenda. Early action, however, requires early warning. With a good understanding of where armed conflict will occur in the near future, for how long it will persist, and how lethal it will be, concerned governments, IGOs, and NGOs may engage in diplomacy efforts, alert the international community about the situation, prepare for humanitarian assistance, and allocate resources where most needed.  This is what ViEWS offers. 
The recent history of state-based violence in Africa, as recorded by the UCDP as of 1 June 2020. Red-colored cells suffered fatalities from state-based violence in April 2020. Purple cells have not experienced such fatalities in years.
Predicted probability of at least 25 fatalities in state-based violence in October 2020 (red dots) and September 2020 (grey dots), as seen from forecasts generated in August and July 2020, respectively.

The solution

The Violence Early Warning Systen (ViEWS) was created to remedy the problem above and bridge the knowledge gaps concerning areas of risk. The system offers a novel integration of isolated causal factors – identified through decades of peace research – into a theoretically and methodologically consistent forecasting system that is further informed by conflict data spanning nearly 30 years in time. ViEWS systematically monitors all locations at risk and produces uniform probabilistic assessments of the risks of each of three different types of political violence at both the country- and sub-national levels. Coupled with state-of-the-art methodologies and an open-source ideology, the result is an ambitious and objective early-warning system at the frontier of research – a fully transparent system that is continuously developed, tested, and iteratively improved.

The forecasting tool

Based on the solution above, ViEWS releases monthly forecasts of the likelihood that fatal political violence will occur in each country and 55×55 km territory (defined by the PRIO-GRID) throughout Africa – during each of the next 36 months. Three different types of violence are captured, as defined and recorded by the Uppsala Conflict Data Program: state-based, non-state, and one-sided violence. The forecasts are released through the ViEWS API, the interactive forecasting dashboard (currently in beta mode), and written summaries in the Risk Monitor series. 
Predicted probability of at least one fatality in state-based violence at the sub-national level in October 2020, based on forecasts generated in August 2020.

Staff directory

ViEWS is an international team comprised by a group of researchers, research assistants, programmers and administrative staff based in Uppsala and Oslo, complemented by contributors across the globe. 

THE CORE TEAM

Current staff members based at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).

Håvard Hegre

Director, Principal Investigator

Liana Lopes

Project Coordinator

Angelica Lindqvist-McGowan

Operations and Outreach Manager

Paola Vesco

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Mihai Croicu

PhD Candidate

David Randahl

PhD Candidate

Maxine Leis

PhD Candidate

Jim Dale

Programmer

Malika Rakhmankulova

Amanuensis

Forogh Akbari

Amanuensis

Tim Gåsste

Amanuensis

Contributors and previous staff

Previous staff members, past and current contributors to the ViEWS project

Naima Mouhleb

Remco Jansen

Hannah Frank

Espen Geelmuyden Rød

Peder Landsverk

Micaela Wannefors

Matthias Basedau

Caroline M. Brandt

Michael Colaresi

Thomas Chadefaux

Hanne Fjelde

Lisa Hultman

Nils Metternich

Desirée Nilsson

Håvard Nygård

Gerald Schneider

Halvard Buhaug

Kristina Petrova

Nina von Uexkull

Jonas Vestby