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The tenth edition of the Global Peace Index: the world continues to be less peaceful

The recently published, tenth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, shows us that the world is continuing its trend of becoming less peaceful; with peace deteriorating globally. The GPI 2016 report finds that the gap between the most peaceful nations and the least peaceful has widened further, as violence and conflict increases in the least peaceful, and increasing inequality in global peace.

The main causes of the decrease in peace were found to be the increase in terrorism and terrorist related activity and higher levels of political instability. Terrorism was said to have reached an all-time high – only 37 of the 163 countries did not experience any impact of terrorism.

The conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa in particular have largely contributed to this deterioration in the levels of peace. These conflicts and have also contributed to the intense increase in the number of displaced people and refugees.

The ten least peaceful countries were found to be:

  1. Syria (ranked 163)
  2. South Sudan (162)
  3. Iraq (161)
  4. Afghanistan (160)
  5. Somalia (159)
  6. Yemen (158)
  7. Central African Republic (157)
  8. Ukraine (156)
  9. Sudan (155)
  10. Libya (154)

The most peaceful countries were found to be:

  1. Iceland
  2. Denmark
  3. Austria
  4. New Zealand
  5. Portugal
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Switzerland
  8. Canada
  9. Japan
  10. Slovenia

Given the rankings it is no surprise to hear that the MENA region was considered the least peaceful region globally. MENA is in fact reported to have had the biggest deterioration in peace this year, despite being ranked the lowest in the 2015 GPI already. This is due to the continued and increasing conflict in Syria and Yemen, as well as the increasing terror attacks in these countries.

The GPI also includes some positives. More countries improved peace in their countries than decreased it – 81 improved, compared to 79. Those that saw most improvement include Panama, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Mauritania. Funding for UN peacekeeping also improved and external conflicts decreased.

Other key findings include:

  • Since 2008, deaths from terrorism have increased by 286%.
  • Battle deaths have increased over five fold since 2008.
  • Nine countries have more than 10% of their population displaced.
  • The global economic impact of violence was $13.6 trillion, a 2% drop since 2015 but still representative of 13.3% of world GDP.

The report goes on to elaborate on positive vs. negative peace and how to encourage a positive peace globally that tackles the root causes of conflict and increases stability and resilience. It also elaborates on the impact of peace on the Sustainable Development Goals – particularly Goal 16.

AOAV carries out research and advocacy in order to reduce the incidence and impact of global armed violence and to improve peace. We also carry out research and advocacy campaigns so as to strengthen international laws and standards on the availability and use of conventional weapons, to build recognition of the rights of victims and survivors of armed violence, and to research, understand and act effectively on the root causes of armed violence in affected countries.

For the full GPI 2016 see here, or for the report highlights read here.