It what should be a surprise to nobody, a new report by the Institute for Economics and Peace shows that world peace is on the decline — a reversal of six decades of steady improvement.
Top image: ISIS execution of Shia militants.
The annual report, called the Global Peace Index, cites militant attacks and growing crime as the primary culprits, particularly in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. The number of people killed in militant attacks has risen in such areas as the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. Murder rates are escalating in growing urban centers and more refugees are having to flee war zones.
Results show that:
- Since 2008, 111 countries have deteriorated in levels of peace, while only 51 have increased
- Europe retains its position as the most peaceful region with 14 of the top 20 most peaceful countries
- The world has become less peaceful over the last year, mainly due to a rise in terrorist activity, the number of conflicts fought and the number of refugees and displaced people
- 500 million people live in countries at risk of instability and conflict — 200 million of whom live below the poverty line.
- The Global Economic Impact of violence reached US$9.8 trillion last year, which is equal to 2 times the total GDP of Africa
The IEP has put together a video summary of its report:
From the Reuters review:
The deterioration appeared the most significant fall in 60 years, the IEP said. Estimates of what the index would have been prior to its launch in 2007 showed world peace improving more or less continuously since the end of World War Two.
"There seem to be a range of causes," Steve Killelea, founder and executive chairman of the IEP, told Reuters. "You have the repercussions of the "Arab Spring", the rise of terrorism particularly following the invasion of Iraq and the repercussions of the global financial crisis." The study examines 22 indicators across 162 countries, including military spending, homicide rates and deaths from conflict, civil disobedience and terrorism.
Over the past seven years, the IEP said its average global peace indicator for all the countries in the world together moved from 1.96 to 2.06, indicating a less peaceful world.
When that figure was adjusted to take into account the different populations of each country, the deterioration was even more marked, from 1.96 to 2.20.
Syria and Afghanistan were rated the least peaceful countries in the world, with South Sudan, Central African Republic, Ukraine and Egypt showing some of the sharpest falls in security levels.