A First-of-Its-Kind Tool
History teaches us that mass atrocities are preventable. From the Holocaust to the genocides in Rwanda, Srebrenica, and Darfur, early warning signs of mass violence went unheeded. For the first time, the Early Warning Project gives us a tool to alert policy makers and the public to places where the risk of mass violence is greatest. Together, people around the world can call for action before it’s too late.
Designed by the Museum and Dartmouth College, this tool measures, tracks, and analyzes known risk factors that could lead to a future instance of mass atrocities. The data, along with real-time analysis from regional and genocide experts, generate a forecast. The results allow us—and other organizations—to focus our resources and attention on the countries most at risk.
The Early Warning Project forms a cornerstone of the Museum’s commitment to stimulate timely global action to prevent mass atrocities.
How it works
The Early Warning Project is unique. Our system analyzed over 50 years of historical data and dissected the conditions present prior to mass atrocities. We use that historical base to recognize contemporary warning signs in countries around the world and to rank those most at risk.
We use two complementary methods:
Our Statistical Risk Assessment calculates a nation’s predilection to commit atrocities based on current measures of economic and political instability as well as forecasts of future coup attempts and civil wars. Some of the factors measured include authoritarian rule, ethnic power imbalance, exclusionary ideology, and international isolation.
The second strength of our analysis is the Expert Opinion Pool. This pool comprises regional and subject matter experts who respond to specific questions about dynamic events and about countries that may be identified through the statistical risk assessment.
For governments, policy makers, advocates, and others attempting to prevent mass violence, there has been no effective, publicly available mechanism for identifying where mass atrocities are likely to occur. By using the best available methods to routinely assess the risk of mass atrocities in countries worldwide, the Early Warning Project seeks to expand opportunities for preventive action before violence breaks out and to help generate pressure for early and effective response.