Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) on 16 June 2015 released the Global Peace Index (GPI) 2015. The GPI 2015 measured peace, its causes and its economic value during 2014.
The GPI 2015 ranked the nations according to their level of peacefulness. It measured peace for 162 countries constituting 99.6 of the world population. Among these 162 countries, India was placed at the 143rd position, the same as 2014.
The index gauged global peace using three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarisation.
Highlights of GPI in terms of three broad themes
Societal safety and security: The Index analysed the effects of urbanisation on violence, and finds that peace generally increases with higher levels of urbanisation. However, countries that have weak rule of law, high levels of intergroup grievances and high levels of inequality are more likely to experience deteriorations in peace as urbanisation increases.
This domain improved slightly during 2014, driven by falls in the homicide rate and the likelihood of violent demonstrations.
However, this improvement was counterbalanced by deteriorations in the ongoing conflict and militarisation domains, owing to increases in deaths from internal conflict, non-payment of UN peacekeeping dues, and a continuing deterioration in the impact of terrorism indicator.
Ongoing domestic and international conflicts: The Index identified drivers of six major Middle East and North Africa (MENA) conflicts occurring in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Israel and Lebanon, which include challenges to government legitimacy, deepening sectarian divides, the destabilising presence of ISIL and the cross-cutting proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
The most substantial changes in the Index occurred in the MENA where several countries suffered from an upsurge in violence related to sectarian strife and civil conflicts, resulting in the region being ranked as the least peaceful in the world, overtaking South Asia from last year’s GPI.
Militarisation: Since 1990, there has been a slow and steady decrease in measures of global militarisation, with large changes in militarisation occurring rarely and usually associated with larger, globally driven geopolitical and economic shifts. Further, countries with weak Positive Peace factors are more likely to use the military for internal suppression.
General Highlights of GPI 2015
• In 2014, the global GPI score remained stable. However, while the average level of global peacefulness was stable, a number of indicators and countries did deteriorate while others improved.
• Over the past eight years, the average country score deteriorated by 2.4 percent highlighting that on average the world has become slightly less peaceful.
• Iceland is the most peaceful country, followed by Denmark and Austria at second and third positions, respectively.
• Others in the top 10 include New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Czech Republic. All the ten highest ranking nations in the GPI are stable democracies.
• Guinea-Bissau had the largest improvement in peace, resulting in a rise of 24 places in the rankings to 120th. The next four largest improvements occurred in Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Tajikistan and Benin.
• A common theme among the largest improvers was a fall in the level of organised conflict, which occurred in all of the four aforementioned African nations.
• Cancelling out its strong improvement in the 2014 edition of the GPI, Libya experienced the largest deterioration this year. Its score deteriorated substantially and consequently it fell 13 places down to 149th to become the 14th least peaceful country.
• The second biggest decline was recorded for the Ukraine, due to the conflict between Russian separatists and the Ukrainian government as well as the instability caused by Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
• Terrorism has grown steadily over the last decade, a trend that shows no sign of abating. Deaths caused by terrorism increased by 61 per cent in 2013, which resulted in almost 18000 people being killed in terrorist attacks. Of those deaths, 82 per cent occurred in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria.
• The threat of terrorism has also affected many of the world’s most peaceful countries, with terrorist attacks occurring in France, Denmark and Australia in the last year.
• The economic impact of violence on the global economy in 2014 was substantial and is estimated at 14.3 trillion US dollars or 13.4 per cent of world GDP.
• This is equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. Since 2008, the total economic impact on global GDP has increased by 15.3 per cent, from 12.4 US trillion dollars to 14.3 US trillion dollars.
• The major expenditure categories are military spending at 43 per cent, homicide and violent crime at 27 per cent and internal security officers, including police, at 18 per cent.
• While the cost of UN peacekeeping has more than doubled since 2008, it still only accounts for less than 0.17 per cent of violence containment expenditure.
• The report outlines new findings on Positive Peace, highlighting its impact on peace, development and other important societal goals.
• Positive Peace is also statistically associated with many other outcomes considered desirable: stronger business environments, better performance on well-being measures, gender equality and better performance on ecological measures.
India and GPI 2014
• India is ranked 143rd out of 162 countries and maintained the same position compared to the GPI 2014.
• The number of casualties from internal conflict rose where a Maoist insurgency stills runs rife.
• The downgrade in India’s score is tempered by an improvement in political stability.
• The world’s second most populous country witnessed an historic election in 2014 as the Bharatiya Janata Party secured India’s first one-party majority since the mid-1980s.
• Rankings of India’s neighbours: Bhutan (18), Nepal (52), Bangladesh (84), Sri Lanka (114), Pakistan (154) and Afghanistan (160).
• India spent fourth largest violence containment expenditure during 2014 with 342 billion US dollars on PPP basis only behind USA, China, Russia. This is equivalent to 4.7 per cent of India's GDP, or 273 US dollars per person.
About Global Peace Index (GPI)
GPI as a measure of world peace was launched in 2007. The 2015 release was 9th in the series.
It is the world's leading measure of global peacefulness produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The Index is composed of 23 indicators, ranging from a nation’s level of military expenditure to its relations with neighbouring countries and the percentage of prison population in 162 countries.
The IEP is a Sydney-based international and independent think tank dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human well-being and progress.
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