Global Peace Index

19 Jun

The GPI is the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). It gauges on-going domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society and militarization in 158 countries by taking into account 23 separate indicators – and basically says that the world is getting more peaceful.  Check out Peter App’s article summarizing key points

This tallies with other long-term analyses and narratives (e.g. Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature) that see conflict on a long-term downward trend.  I am still a bit dubious about what this means, however, for policy.  Although it is important to acknowledge the reduction of brutish insecurity and violence in the average global citizen’s life, there is a danger of undue optimism.   The uncertainty of current global threats and multiple institutional failures of western democracy to engage with highly volatile environments means that the past trends are not necessarily applicable to the coming century.

The GPI does make for fascinating reading (see the data here).  GPI concludes: ‘At the top of the table is Iceland followed by Denmark , New Zealand , Canada , Japan , Austria , Ireland , Slovenia , Finland and Switzerland.  The least peaceful countries are Pakistan, Israel, Central African Republic, North Korea, Russia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Somalia, which is ranked the least peaceful country according to the GPI.

The report states that all regions apart from the Middle East and North Africa saw an improvement, with Sub-Saharan Africa lifting off of the bottom spot for the first time since the GPI was launched in 2007. Through its decline in peacefulness the Middle East and North Africa is now the least peaceful region globally. The drop largely reflects the upheaval and instability driven by the Arab Spring.

“What comes across dramatically in this year’s results and the six year trends is a shift in global priorities. Nations have become externally more peaceful as they compete through economic, rather than military means. The results for Sub Saharan Africa as a whole are particularly striking – regional wars have waned as the African Union strives to develop economic and political integration.” said Steve Killelea, founder and Executive Chairman of the IEP.’

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