The 2013 Global Peace Index: the world, a less peaceful place

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is conducted by the Institute for Economics and Peace and it is the world’s leading measure of national peacefulness. Now in its seventh year, it ranks 162 nations according to their ‘absence of violence’.Steve Killelea, founder and Chairman of the IEP said: 

“The findings of this year’s Index support the prevailing trend of the last six years, namely: a continuing shift away from nations taking up arms against one another and towards more organised internal conflicts. A key factor associated with this is that the peace gap between countries under authoritarian regimes and the rest of the world is becoming larger”.

These are highlights of this report:

  • The world has become 5% less peaceful since 2008
  • Europe is the most peaceful region, with 13 of the top 20 most peaceful countries
  • War ravaged Afghanistan returns to the bottom of the index
  • Syria’s GPI score has fallen by 70% sine 2008
  • The total economic impact of containing violence is estimated to be US$9.46 trillion in 2012

These are the most relevant results

  • The top three most peaceful countries are Iceland, Denmark and New Zealand. Small and stable democracies make up the top ten most peaceful countries.
  • With a newly elected government and a steady recovery from the 2011 turmoil, Libya had the biggest improvement in peace score since last year.
  • The three least peaceful countries are Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria.
  • Syria’s score dropped by the largest margin, with the biggest ever score deterioration in the history of the GPI.

And these, the trends:

  • Since the 2008, 110 countries have become less peaceful, while 48 have improved their score.
  • Three main factors that have contributed to the deterioration in peace scores from 2012-2013: the number of homicides, military expenditure as a percentage of GDP and political instability.
  • The number of deaths from internal conflicts has risen significantly. In the past year, the drug war in Mexico claimed twice as many lives as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yo can also check how your county is doing with their interactive map  that allows you to explore peace over time, compare up to three countries side by side, see how each country is doing according to the 23 indicators of peace and to visualise the socio-economic factors associated with peace

The GPI is developed by IEP under the guidance of an international panel of independent experts with data collated and calculated by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). It is composed of 22 indicators, ranging from a nation’s level of military expenditure to its relations with neighbouring countries and the percentage of prison population.

The data is sourced from a wide range of respected sources, including the International Institute of Strategic Studies, The World Bank, various UN Agencies, peace institutes and the EIU. The index has been tested against a range of potential “drivers” or determinants of peace—including levels of democracy and transparency, education and national wellbeing. he GPI is intended to contribute significantly to the public debate on peace. The project’s ambition is to go beyond a crude measure of wars—and systematically explore the texture of peace. The Index is currently used by many international organisations, governments and NGOs including the World Bank, the OECD, and the United Nations.