Countries that are extremely peaceful and those in utter political disarray are subjects of much fascination all across the world. Luckily, the Vision of Humanity came out with their eighth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), a ranking of 162 countries. Considering this list includes 99.6 percent of the world’s population, it should certainly be taken seriously. First, let’s look at the most and least safe nations, and then consider the changes that the GPI shows overtime, in a global perspective.
The rankings are carefully done with many considerations, but they are broadly based on three themes: a) the level of safety and security within that country, b) international or domestic conflicts involved with that country, and c) the country’s level of militarization. Now, let’s look at the safest countries.
The World’s 10 Safest Countries
Europe continued to be the most peaceful region in the world because of a lack of conflicts, both domestic and international. Developed nations within the Asia-Pacific region also did very well, including New Zealand and Japan – both of which were in the top ten – as well as Australia, Singapore and Taiwan, which were also rated as having a very high level of peace, but weren’t in the top 10. The less developed nations in that region did not change much from last year.
Other Countries of Interest
Very High Levels of Peace
26) Spain (same rank as Croatia)
Quite High Levels of Peace
47) United Kingdom
52) South Korea
80) Saudi Arabia (same rank as Togo)
Medium Levels of Peace
90) Papua New Guinea
101) United States of America
116) El Salvador
122) South Africa
126) Thailand (same rank as Tajikistan)
Low Levels of Peace
The World’s Most Dangerous Countries
153) North Korea
155) Democratic Republican of the Congo
156) Central African Republic
160) South Sudan
The Global Perspective
The most-improved country from last year was Georgia, jumping from 139th in 2013 to 111th this year. South Sudan, on the other hand, has made the biggest fall, from 143rd to 160th. It’s unfortunate, but South Sudan has deteriorated ever since it became its own state in 2011.
Furthermore, the world has overall became slightly less peaceful since last year. The Middle East continues to have consistent violence (especially in Syria and Afghanistan), and the drug war in Latin America is gradually getting worse. Africa remains generally at the bottom of the list, and some European nations took a hit in the rankings because of their plunging economic situations.
The worst indications of our global peace declining is the increased level of terrorism, increased per capita weapons importing and exporting, and the high number of homicides.
The four indicators that recorded the greatest deterioration over the last seven years are the level of terrorist activity, per capita weapons imports, per capita weapons exports and number of homicides , while the three indicators that have had the greatest improvement are nuclear and heavy weapons capability, per capita number of police and number of armed service personnel
On the other hand, the improvements in peace over the last year were largely associated with the reduction in militarization spending. For example, Europe’s budgetary restrictions forced some rethinking and prioritizing, which was a good thing in at least this one case. Also, the number of armed service personnel and police have been rising per capita, which is seen as a good thing. The premise, in this case, is that policemen are good for national peace. I find this presumption less certain in some of the more corrupt nations.
Also investigated was the economic impact of violence around the world. The global cost was $9.8 trillion. Put another way, that’s a lot of zeroes (look at it like this: $9,800,000,000,000). It adds up to $1,350 for each person on earth.
Perhaps one day, we’ll use that money to feed those people who need it. Maybe…
Or maybe not.