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New DU report examines the conflict in Yemen

The conflict in Yemen has created an urgent humanitarian and development crisis. Just how urgent is detailed in a new report from the University of Denver’s Frederick S. Pardee Center of International Futures. 

The Pardee Center, housed at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, worked with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to research the human and economic cost of the war. Findings show the conflict is responsible for 377,000 deaths, a majority of which can be attributed to shortages of food, water and health care. If the conflict continues through 2030, the research indicates the death toll could climb to 1.3 million.

“Our research shows that the conflict’s full death toll is much higher than what is often reported, because the true cost of war includes deaths not just from fighting and airstrikes but from hunger and disease,” says Taylor Hanna, senior research associate at the Pardee Center. “But we hope that highlighting these grave findings will raise awareness of the situation in the country and the importance of bringing this conflict to an end.”

The research indicates that a Yemeni child under the age of 5 dies every nine minutes. The county has lost $126 billion in potential gross domestic product since 2015. And 15.6 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty.

The Pardee Center uses system thinking and integrated modeling to map and understand the multiple ways that conflict affects development. Created by DU professor Barry Hughes, the International Futures (IFs) model is used to predict the state of human and economic development worldwide.

“This series is the first time we applied long-term modeling techniques to better understand the effect of ongoing conflict on human development,” says Pardee Center director Jonathan Moyer. “This work highlights the applied research creativity and rigor of our team of researchers.”

Researchers modeled several recovery scenarios, from a fragmented approach to an integrated recovery. According to the modeling, the former promises a difficult recovery, while the latter—which focuses on lasting peace, the economy, health and education, governance, agriculture and female empowerment—can return the country to its prewar development trajectory by 2030. It also prevents the deaths of 700,000 Yemenis. 

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