The Institute for Economics and Peace have published their 2017 Global Peace Index.
It’s an in-depth look at peace and violence around the world, ranking countries according to a range of indicators from ‘weapons imports /exports’ or ‘terrorism impact’, to ‘relations with neighbours’. You can see an interactive map on the Vision of Humanity website.
As ever the detailed findings are complex (you can read the full 140 page report online) but the broad trends remain similar to recent years: overall the world is becoming slightly more peaceful, but there is an ever-growing divide between the majority of countries that are becoming more peaceful, and those for whom peace is deteriorating. The UK is ranked at 41 (out of 163) – largely peaceful, but our arms industry and nuclear weapons keep our score well below those of countries such as Iceland, Denmark, Portugal, Austria and New Zealand. A new trend this year is a decline in violent conflicts between countries, but greater tension between neighbouring countries. This is alongside an increase in internal violent conflict within countries, greater impact of terrorism, and growing numbers of people having to flee their homes.
The index provides some useful insight, recognising that peace is not only about the absence of war, but also measures to promote ‘positive peace’ such as good governance and equal distribution of resources:
The 2017 GPI provides a comprehensive analysis on the state of peace. It shows that amidst continuing social and political turmoil, the world continues to spend enormous resources on creating and containing violence but very little on peace. The key to reversing the decline in peace is through building Positive Peace – a holistic framework of the key attitudes, institutions and structures which build peace in the long-term.
Of course, peace isn’t something we can easily quantify, and there are different ways of thinking about peace & justice. If you’re interested in these questions, or want some ideas for things you can do to make the world a more peaceful place, pop into Peace Hub for a friendly chat.