2011 Global Peace Index reveals a world less peaceful

DESA panel event in connection with the 2011 GPI release on 26 May

Turmoil and conflict currently shake many parts of the globe. This is also reflected in the 2011 Global Peace Index (GPI), released yesterday, which reveals that levels of world peace dropped for the third consecutive year. According to the Index, an increased risk of terrorism and significant unrest in the Middle East and North Africa drove dramatic changes in national rankings.

“The fall in this year’s Index is strongly tied to conflict between citizens and their governments; nations need to look at new ways of creating stability other than through military force,” said Steve Killelea, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the international research institute which produces the Index.

The results were also analyzed at an event organized by DESA yesterday on “Peace and Social Sustainability: what peace metrics can tell us about resilient societies”, featuring distinguished panelists from the Institute for Economics and Peace, Economist Intelligence Unit of North America, Harvard Law School and the International Peace Institute.

Key findings include the ranking of the top five most peaceful nations: Iceland, New Zealand, Japan, Denmark and the Czech Republic. They also disclose that the impact of the events in the Middle East and North Africa has been dramatic. Libya’s rank (143rd) saw the most significant drop in GPI history, falling 83 spots. Bahrain’s rank (123rd) fell by the second largest margin, falling 51 places. Egypt (73rd) dropped 24 places.

“We continue to see that the most peaceful nations share specific structures of peace, including well-functioning government, strong business environments, respect for human rights, low levels of corruption, high rates of participation in education and free flow of information,” said Clyde McConaghy, Board Director of the IEP. 

The GPI is the world’s leading statistical analysis of nations according to their state of peace. It gauges ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, and militarization in 153 countries by looking at 23 indicators of external and internal peace, such as number of homicides, weapons exports, prison population, level of organized internal conflict and relationship with neighboring countries.

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